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Manatee County school gets new name

"Academy" no more.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

PALMETTO, Fla. — A Manatee County school marred by controversy for years has a new name.

School leaders on Tuesday unanimously chose to rename Lincoln Memorial Academy as Lincoln Memorial Middle School -- a subtle change but a necessary one as it's no longer a charter school.

The Florida Department of Education required a new name to be selected since, in 2019, the school board terminated the charter school contract. 

The school opened in 2018 but was returned to the district after an investigation showed widespread evidence of "systematic dysfunction," including unpaid bills and teachers not receiving paychecks.

Federal investigators late last year announced the government was looking into allegations of fraud, bribery and embezzlement.

An initial, September 2019 court ruling revoked the school's status as a charter school and converted it back to a public middle school. That ruling, the court said, was "supported by competent, substantial evidence, and we find no merit in [Lincoln Memorial Academy Inc.'s] arguments."

"... [The school] has failed to demonstrate any reason to reverse the final order."

Lincoln Memorial Academy, according to court documents, complained of various issues, including the school board itself failed to provide needed support. Those arguments were rejected.

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