PALMETTO, Fla. — A judge has decided a Manatee County school's charter was revoked appropriately.
This is one of three investigations right now into the administration at Lincoln Memorial Academy in Palmetto. There has been controversy over how the school's finances were handled. Now, the federal government is looking into allegations of fraud, bribery, and embezzlement.
The school's principal, Ed Hundley, resigned earlier this year. He released a statement that reads, “As we await the completion of the appeal process, I would only ask that we focus on the students and their progress and well-being. The facts will ultimately take the place of accusations and suggestions, and it is because of this I ask people to be patient enough to wait for facts prior to printing, posting, or repeating things they have not vetted and know to be true. Please focus on what we know to be true, and that is the fact that a school full of children need the energy and support of all involved.”
An attorney for Manatee County Schools told 10News about a laundry list of evidence of problems.
The general counsel for the school district Mitchell Teitelbaum said, “It’s clear, convincing evidence of very significant violations that affected the health, safety and welfare of students such as lapse of insurance, food—not providing the proper food, financial—nothing less than complete and total meltdown financially, the solvency of that particular school, the failure to make key and essential payments to the IRS, to the FRS—those are very significant.”
He's referring to more than $250,000 that was not paid to teachers’ retirement accounts through payroll deductions and the payroll taxes not paid to the IRS. It’s up to teachers to get their own legal counsel to try to get backpay. Some have already hired attorneys. The district is not required to reimburse them.
The school is now looking to get another charter.
No word yet on when the federal investigation will be completed.
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