PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - There’s more controversy surrounding Lincoln Memorial Academy in Palmetto.
The school has had several financial issues, including not being able to pay bills and falling delinquent on retirement contributions for teachers.
The founder and CEO of the school, Eddie Hundley, is now filing a complaint to the Florida Department of Education saying the school district is to blame for not providing enough funding.
“Despite the fact that these kids really need these funds to get their full support, they were not provided to us. So I felt it necessary to formally make a complaint," says Hundley.
Lincoln Memorial Academy’s financial problems came to a head recently when it couldn’t pay its water bill or even contribute to the state pension program.
Hundley blames the Manatee County School District, saying the district isn’t properly funding the school according to Title I guidelines regarding schools with a high percentage of students from low-income families.
“It stemmed from being led to believe we would get our full complimentary funds and then those funds not being provided for over six months,” says Hundley.
According to the school district, Lincoln was projected to receive up to $280,000 but the state only approved $110,000. The district’s General Counsel, Mitchell Teitelbaum says it gave Lincoln an additional $40,000 but even that wouldn’t be enough to pull the school out of trouble.
“That would not resolve the present deteriorating condition that that school is under, which is under a quarter of a million dollars. There was a projection the Department of Education set the number and that number was paid,” says Teitelbaum.
The state money also wouldn’t help Lincoln pay that delinquent water bill either.
“It may be allocated for general educational purposes such as staffing however it’s not for your general every day expenses," says Teitelbaum.
The school district says they are only aware of a complaint involving the school for the 2017-2018 school year which is before the school became a charter school, but in an email between Hundley and the Department of Education complaints are for both this past school year and the year prior.
The district says it’s working with charter school’s board in hopes of getting the school back on the right track.