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Newpoint Pinellas Academy is the fourth charter school to close in Pinellas this year



Newpoint Pinellas Academy, a Clearwater charter middle school formerly operated by the troublesome management company Newpoint Education Partners, will close its doors just six weeks into the new school year.

The school's governing board unanimously voted to voluntarily terminate its charter agreement with the Pinellas County school district. Board members said the school was no longer financially viable with a dismally low enrollment. In May, the school had 105 students. The school will now displace 45 students.

Newpoint Pinellas was served with a 90-day termination notice in May for its "deteriorating financial condition." The school's deficit has doubled to $52,000 since that time.

Newpoint Pinellas Academy shares its location, 21810 US Hwy 19 N, with Newpoint Pinellas High School, which currently has 83 students. The high school received a one-year charter renewal this summer, and is currently safe from termination.

The school's board chair, Jack Eichert, said he was "making moves to keep the high school open through the end of the year." He declined further comment.

One of the school's three board members, Debbie Peterson, held back tears as she said she hoped the school district could give Newpoint Pinellas families priority into another school of their choice. Rick Wolfe, the district's director of charter schools who was at the meeting, said families would have to work with the district's student assignment office.

"This time of year is going to be difficult," Wolfe said. "You can't just blow off class size for schools."

The school becomes the third Newpoint-affiliated school in Pinellas to close, following Windsor Preparatory Academy and East Windsor Middle Academy in St. Petersburg. It is also the fourth charter school to close in the district this year after the district absorbed University Preparatory Academy weeks before the start of the school year.

Statewide, Newpoint Pinellas is the ninth out of 15 schools run by Newpoint to close.

This post has been corrected. Newpoint Pinellas' governing board voted to terminate on Friday, however it is expected that the school will officially close Friday, Sept. 23.

[Last modified: Monday, September 19, 2016 2:20pm]


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