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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pinellas charter's board chair calls district's concerns "inaccurate or exaggerated"



Families of Windsor Preparatory Academy, the district's largest charter elementary school, were tired of non-responses from their school's board and felt their concerns were waved-off at past board meetings.

The district's director of charter schools, Rick Wolfe, who also attended these board meetings, shared a similar sentiment.

So when Wolfe sent out letters a few weeks ago notifying the Florida Department of Education and Windsor Prep's board chair, Robert Pergolizzi, of the school's "deteriorating financial condition," which required the school's board to submit a "corrective action plan" by April 5, he added another requirement: a written response to seven outlined concerns due today.

To five out of the seven questions, which ranged from inadequate curriculum, inventory inaccuracies, high teacher turnover and more than $300,000 in "unsubstantiated consulting fees," Pergolizzi claimed the concerns were "inaccurate or exaggerated." 

Pergolizzi said the letter's short notice prevented him from convening to discuss responses, but he did consult with the school's principal, Veronica Fly, and representatives from the school's previous management company, Newpoint Education Partners.

Pergolizzi began and concluded his letter by reiterating that Alliance Ed of Florida, which acquired Newpoint earlier this week, now manages the school. He expressed his confidence in the school's leadership and the new management company.

Wolfe, who said he only took a cursory glance at the letter, said he passed it along to district higher-ups to review, including the district's legal team and superintendent Mike Grego. 

"They're really pushing back," Wolfe said, referring to the school's board. "What we have is factual. They're not just claims or accusations."

Neither Pergolizzi nor Fly returned requests for comment.

Read the letter here.

[Last modified: Friday, March 11, 2016 6:14pm]


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