Florida Department of Education urging school district address the Lincoln Memorial Academy Controversy

Updated: Jul. 17, 2019 at 9:57 PM EDT
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PALMETTO, Fla. (WWSB) - There’s more controversy surrounding a charter school in Manatee County.

The district received a letter from the Florida Department of Education on Tuesday which urged the district to address the issues at Lincoln Memorial Academy that they say threaten the health, safety and wealth of the students. If nothing changes, the Commissioner of Education said he will take matters into his own hands.

Lincoln Memorial Academy has been in a financial deficit for four months now. The total is more than $700,000.

District officials say they’ve been trying to work with Lincoln Memorial Academy and the school’s founder and CEO, but nothing has changed. They’ve asked for financials to show where the money is going but haven’t received very much documentation.

According to letters addressed from the Department of Education to the school district, Lincoln Memorial overspent its funds. A large percentage is being spent on administrative cost. The state says the Lincoln Memorial Academy spending for administrators is not only disproportionate, but it suggests waste, mismanagement and possibly fraud.

“Every charter school must monthly report their financials,” Mitchell Teitelbaum, of the Manatee School District said. “It’s for purposes of determining if that charter school is able to pay it’s bills. We cannot as a district and as a sponsor correct a budget if we don’t know what the budget is comprised of and what you’re spending.”

The district says so far there are about three teachers that they know of who have not been paid. On top of that, the school is behind on payments to the Florida Retirement System by $60,000.

The district and the school have until next Wednesday to come up with a plan the state agrees with.

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