Pasco school district seeks assurances from Plato Academy charter school

The Pinellas-based charter group is battling over its lease payments.
Plato Academy Trinity remained under construction on just four days before students were supposed to begin classes in 2018. The construction is complete, but now the school is accused of being behind in its rent. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
Plato Academy Trinity remained under construction on just four days before students were supposed to begin classes in 2018. The construction is complete, but now the school is accused of being behind in its rent. [Jeffrey S. Solochek | Times]
Published August 12

Pasco County school district officials are not officially worried about the status of Plato Academy in Trinity. Yet.

But they are wanting more information about the school’s rent payments from the past several months.

The charter school, which opened a year ago amid troubles completing construction on time, has received notice that it has defaulted on its lease agreement with property owner Superior Schools — the group that used to manage Plato’s several campuses around the Tampa Bay area. According to the document, Plato had not paid Superior $325,854 from December 2018 through July 2019.

Pasco superintendent Kurt Browning reminded Plato leaders in a recent letter that the charter’s contract includes language requiring that it maintain sufficient funds to pay all costs associated with operating the school, including rent.

“As you know, the School Board has an interest in the facilities which are utilized for Pasco County students,” Browning wrote.

He asked the charter operator to submit detailed financial information regarding lease payments, as well as any other “relevant information regarding your access to facilities.”

No warnings were attached. So far, the district simply wants an update on the lease dispute between landlord and tenant, board attorney Dennis Alfonso said.

The district was still waiting for a response.

RELATED: Plato Academy charter schools in turmoil over management, family feud

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