OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida judge has upheld a decision by the Osceola County School Board to terminate a contract with a charter school, denying an appeal filed by American Classical Charter Academy.
The American Classical Charter Academy sent a letter to parents on Monday night telling them that their school will not open next week.
The letter stated that the district is withholding funding: “without funding, it becomes impossible to continue operations.” The letter goes on to state the charter school will appeal the judge’s decision but they don’t know how long that will take.
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Parents showed up at that school on Tuesday to get their kids’ records, telling Channel 9 that they came to get the paperwork for a transfer to other schools, but that the records were already secured and could not be given out this afternoon.
The Osceola County School District told Channel 9 they will now be working with students to get them into other schools, just a week before school starts.
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On Friday, administrative law judge Friday Lynne Quimby-Pennock issued a 65-page order backing the school board in the dispute with American Classical Charter Academy.
In April, the school board voted to terminate the contract.
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Officials said the deteriorating financial conditions of American Classical Charter Academy reached the point of financial emergency.
A termination letter from the superintendent said the school is in financial trouble, writing that an audit showed that in 2021, expenditures at the end of that year were more than $600,000 in the red.
The school’s principal said the school board overstepped its authority, and that under the Corrective Action Plan, the school had a year to make the changes requested
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Following the decision to terminate the contract, the charter school appealed.
According to the judge’s order, “Based on the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, it is ORDERED that the appeal filed by American Classical Charter Academy is DENIED, and the charter school contract is terminated.”
In her decision, the judge wrote that the evidence showed that only 10 of ACCA’s 28 teachers were certified and proved that students were not provided Exceptional Student Education (ESE) and English Language Learners (ELL) services as outlined in their Individual Education Plans (IEP).
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According to the school’s website, the school held an emergency meeting and decided on a new principal and meeting attendees told Channel 9 the school board plans to appeal the judge’s decision and plans to go ahead with opening this school year.
The school has an eviction hearing later this month after being accused of not paying its rent.
On Tuesday, the Osceola County School Board will take up the issue during its board meeting.
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