Clearwater charter high school opts out of auto-renew contract with management company
The board of a charter high school in Clearwater decided Thursday to not have its agreement auto-renew with its management company.
Newpoint Pinellas High, which shares its location with middle school Newpoint Pinellas Academy at 21810 US Hwy 19 N, is contemplating a separation from Newpoint Education Partners. The company is currently being investigated by district and state officials. Only the high school is possibly seeking a new management company.
Board chair Jack Eichert questioned Newpoint Education Partners president Eileen Quinlan and Newpoint Pinellas High's principal Chris Wiand on solutions for how to get the school out of its financial rut. The school had a $273,308 operating deficit and owed its management company $498,616 in loans as of June 30, 2015, its last fiscal year.
Eichert said he convened the meeting to learn "how to bring this school into compliance and how to bring this school into a financial status that makes sense."
Quinlan has previously attributed the high school's deficit to a low enrollment. Wiand, who shared with the board that its current enrollment is 81 students, explained that low enrollment could be due to the school's location in a strip mall or Pinellas County's increased emphasis on its magnet programs.
Wiand also commended Newpoint Education Partners by saying that "that back office stuff was handled," which allowed him to focus on academics. Quinlan said the school has many student clubs and an appealing, small environment. Both said a solution could be to ramp up its marketing campaign.
When pressed for a solution about how the school could resolve its negative cash flow, Quinlan said she could not comment without reviewing documents first. She offered to bring representatives from the company's financial firm to a future board workshop.
The board scheduled a workshop to review the school's finances on Jan. 28 at 4:30 p.m.