Pinellas Charter School Company Disappears

cash-burningNewpoint Education Partners runs/ran four schools in Pinellas that enroll 700 students.  The company has run up $1.8 million in debt.

 

 

 

 

 

The company president, Eileen Quinlan, is silent, but a letter surfaced indicating she was trying to unload the school to another charter operator, Alliance Ed, without board approval.

The Florida Department of Education has required a correction plan which resulted in the appointment of new board members.  According to the Tampa Bay Times, the charter board is determined to turn the schools around.  Even the Charter School Alliance has acknowledged that they should have stepped in earlier.

The board is interviewing new management companies, but who, if anyone, will pay the debt is unclear.  Privatizing schools has many risks, absconding with public tax dollars is just one of them.  The legislature is reluctant to regulate private businesses, like charter schools, so it is the Buyers Beware solution to mismanagement and fraud.

Problems with Pinellas schools, both traditional public and charter, have racked the area.  Who has been ‘watching the store’?

 

 

Posted in Audits, Charter School Management, Florida, Funding.

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