I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Newpoint: Problems Mount as Multi-Agency Investigation Continues....

Newpoint Schools have problems, not just locally but over in Panama City as well.

Just this last week the Newpoint School in Bay County has sued the Superintendent of Schools in Panama City over nearly $1Million in Grant money that Newpoint wants but cannot get because the Superintendent there will not sign the grant application.  From the News Herald:

"A charter school provider is bringing legal action against Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt after he didn’t approve a grant application for school equipment. Newpoint Bay Inc., which operates the existing Newpoint Bay Academy and Newpoint Bay High School and is opening Newpoint Bay Preparatory Academy and Central High School in Bay County, filed an emergency petition for a writ of mandamus, which seeks to compel a party to perform a legally obligated action."
Locally, the  Escambia County School Board will be voting on a recommendation from superintendent Thomas to terminate the charter for all three Newpoint schools in Pensacola.  The issues that are given to justify this termination are outlined in today's Pensacola News Journal:

"Escambia County School District Superintendent Malcolm Thomas has made a recommendation to the school board to terminate the charters for the schools. The matter will be an item on the consent agenda at the regular board meeting on May 19. If approved, the contracts will end Aug. 17. The school district and the State Attorney's Office are investigating allegations of grade tampering at Newpoint Academy and Newpoint High School. Initially, Newpoint Education Partners, the schools' parent company, denied any wrongdoing. However on April 29, the company announced it had launched an independent investigation."

The  problems locally stem from a series of allegations that began in the spring of 2014.  The allegations, the gist of which were well documented in a story in this week's edition of InWeekly, were not followed up on by the district until this spring, and now I have knowledge that there is a robust, multi-agency investigation underway (State, local, Federal);  This issue is multi-faceted and involves more than just Newpoint schools.  This investigation is complex, and everyone is watching everyone else, it kind of reminds me of this scene from "Casino." 
And the truth of all of the allegations will be uncovered.  I'm convinced of this. 
Meanwhile, for Newpoint, whether or not they are guilty of any of these allegations, the fact that these claims are being made against them is a massive  public relations problem.  
Although I will be open-minded and will listen to all sides of this issue before I cast my vote on Newpoint, I know that there are those that already believe all of these allegations are true.
We will all just have to wait and see what happens next. 

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