Charter schools want to sever ties with management company
Newpoint Education Partners accused of theft, other crimes
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Two local charter schools want to sever ties from their management company, Newpoint Education Partners, which was indicted last month on charges of grand theft, money laundering and aggravated white-collar crime.
Over the last six months, Newpoint has operated charter schools in six counties and has withdrawn from its contracts voluntarily or been terminated by the school districts in four of those counties. The only two schools left under Newpoint management are in Jacksonville -- San Jose Academy and San Jose Preparatory High School.
San Jose Board Chair Bonnie Arnold and the schools' attorney, Gene Wheeler, decided Thursday night to get out of their five-year contract. The decision comes after the schools discovered they've possibly been paying interest on $235,000 worth of apparently non-existent loans from the management company.
"We've been in negotiations for a few days. There wasn't a decision made. We brought it to the board for them to move forward with a decision," Arnold said.
Two weeks ago, Arnold told the News4Jax I-TEAM that the relationship with Newpoint was good and the indictment against the company in Escambia County didn't affect them. Then, after a public records request made by the media, the schools found out $235,000 in loans they've possibly been paying interest on don't exist, and the schools had a change of heart.
"Because it's in the best interest of our school, our students, our staff and our community," Arnold said.
Newpoint has been fronting the payroll, and the school pays them back. A month's payroll totals about $90,000 and San Jose Academy is a few payments behind, according to the board. San Jose Preparatory High School is current.