Natalia Martinez went to a school board meeting Thursday, hoping to hear that the financially beset Palm Bay Community Charter School will be welcoming her kindergarten-age daughter this fall.
Instead, Martinez and more than 100 other parents, students and faculty left disappointed and uncertain, but still determined. The Brevard County School Board voted 5-0 to send a 90-day notice of termination to the K-10 school, which has not made payments on its $21 million bond debt since January 2009...
Since 2008, shortfalls caused by enrollment have plagued the school, which never met initial projections of about 1,060 students. The school ended the 2010-11 year with 777 students. From yearly revenue, about $6,468 per child last year, the school hoped to pay operational costs and make bond payments. Low enrollment meant the school couldn't cover both, and a recent audit declared the school in a state of financial emergency...
For weeks, the primary issue has been who is listed as "borrower." Under the original bonds, that was Patriot Charter School LLC, a company related to Charter Schools USA -- the company that built and initially operated the charter school. The school is now operated and managed by Academica...
The city's 5-year-old charter school was built in 2006 with $21 million in bond money. No payments have been made on the bond debt since January 2009. That puts the debt in default, though bondholders worked in the past with the K-10 school to put off payments until the school could meet its obligations.
Under the original bonds, the borrower was Patriot Charter School LLC, a company related to Charter USA -- the company that built and initially operated the charter school.
Since 2008, the school has faced shortfalls stemming from enrollment that at best, has reached just three-quarters of its initial goal of 1,063 students. From yearly revenue -- about $6,468 per child last year and expected to drop to $6,045 for the coming year -- the school hoped to pay operational costs and make payments on its bonds.
Superintendent Brian Binggeli prepared a letter to Palm Bay Mayor John Mazziotti and City Manager Sue Hann, dated June 30, stating the charter will be terminated in 90 days, after the school year begins. Board members, who voted 5-0 to send the letter, said Thursday the notice gives the school 90 days to correct deficiencies. Palm Bay council members, who serve as the school's governing board, recently voted 5-0 to not contest or appeal a termination.
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Palm Bay Community Charter School
“Palm Bay Community Charter School's fate unclear:Board votes 5-0 to send school 90-day notice of termination.” Florida Today 6/30/11