Parents panic after Titusville charter school fails inspection

Legacy Academy Charter did not meet inspection, safety requirements, BCPS says

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

TITUSVILLE, Fla. - Some Brevard County elementary students may not have a school to attend Aug. 10, after a new Titusville charter school failed to meet state and county requirements just 10 days before it was set to open.

Legacy Academy Charter was accepting pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students for the 2017-2018 school year, but this week, Brevard County Public School officials said that those students will have to find another place to go.

Brevard County Public Schools released a statement Wednesday saying the new school on South Palm Avenue did not meet inspection and safety requirements set by the state and the school district.

“BPS supports the students, staff and proposed curriculum of Legacy Academy Charter, but we must ensure the health, safety and welfare of our students,” read the statement.

Legacy Academy Charter failed to meet health inspections or insurance requirements and did not acquire a certificate of occupancy by the city of Titusville, according to Brevard County Public Schools.

A statement posted on Legacy’s website Aug.1 from Principal Charlene Montford said as of July 31 the school had “rectified a majority of the deficiencies and submitted a timeline for completion before school starts on Aug. 10.”

“Our intentions are to continue making progress towards opening Legacy Academy Charter School on Aug. 10.”

Read Montford’s full letter to parents here.

Charter schools are public schools that operate as an alternative to traditional public schools, according to the Florida Department of Education. The school district in which the charter operates must approve its application and agree to a contract with the school. That relationship makes the school district a sponsor of the charter school.

Learn how charter schools operate in Florida here.

Before Tuesday, parents were swapping car-pool times and school supply deals on the charter school's social media pages. As word started to spread about the inspection failure, parents started posting panicked comments to the school’s Facebook page, asking whether if it will open or not.

“Are you guys still opening Aug. 10,” one post read. Another parent asked, “Are they closing the school or what?”

An invitation for an Aug. 8 "welcome night" is still posted to the top of Legacy Academy’s Facebook page.

The charter school’s contract with Brevard Public Schools will be reviewed for termination on Aug. 8, BCPS officials said.

The school district said it is prepared to help students and families who are now without a place to go on the first day of school.

BCPS Superintendent Dr. Desmond Blackburn used social media Wednesday afternoon to respond to concerned residents.

“This is unfortunate,” Blackburn said. “The Board and I are very pro Charter/Choice. However, we don't have the authority to violate state or contractual rules.”

Blackburn recommended parents contact the leadership of Legacy Academy with their questions and said nothing is final until the school board votes on Aug. 8.

Legacy Academy Charter administrators declined to comment for this article.

Read the full statement from Brevard County Public Schools below:

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