Last night, the Brighton Area Schools (BAS) board declined to take a vote on chartering the tea party “classical academy” being pushed by Pasquale Battaglia and a coalition of homeschooling parents. You can read more on the history of this politically extreme group HERE.
After months of heated public discussion, the Brighton Area Schools Board of Education refused to even consider the motion of sponsoring a charter school at the vacant Lindbom Elementary School.
The action, approved on a 6-1 vote Monday, caused board member John Conely to walk out of the meeting. Conely was the lone dissenting vote.
“I believe it should have come to a board vote,” Conely said in the hallway. “I think the citizens of this community deserve a vote, and it needs to be on record what it is.”
Conely is a well-known for his conservative views and support of Battaglia despite Battaglia’s overt racism, hatred of the government that he’s asking money from, and his other extremist views. Conely’s whining about there not being a vote isn’t surprising and his petulant stamping out of the meeting is very telling.
There may well be more to this move than meets the eye. The Michigan Revised School Code has something in it that addresses public academies in part 3 of section 380.503 which is titled “Public school academy; issuance of contract; priority; petition to place question on ballot; submission; resolution; contents of contract; compliance with applicable laws; governmental immunity; exemption from taxation; acquisition of property; oath of office”:
(3) If a person or entity applies to the board of a school district for a contract to organize and operate 1 or more public school academies within the boundaries of the school district and the board does not issue the contract, the person or entity may petition the board to place the question of issuing the contract on the ballot to be decided by the school electors of the school district. The petition shall contain all of the information required to be in the contract application under section 502 and shall be signed by a number of school electors of the school district equal to at least 5% of the total number of school electors of that school district. The petition shall be filed with the school district filing official. If the board receives a petition meeting the requirements of this subsection, the board shall have the question of issuing the contract placed on the ballot at its next regular school election held at least 60 days after receiving the petition. If a majority of the school electors of the school district voting on the question vote to issue the contract, the board shall issue the contract.
By declining to vote on chartering Battaglia’s American Classical Academy, formerly known as the American Christian Academy, the BAS avoids the chance of a costly special election so that ideological/political extremists can use the good name and reputation of Brighton Schools to get their hands on taxpayer dollars to run their “school for homeschoolers”. Ironically, Battaglia and his group despise public schools, what they call “government schools”. But they are perfectly willing to become chartered by them in order to get their hands on that tax money. The hypocrisy is stunning.
The Livingston County Press & Argus article says that the Lindbom Classical Academy coalition is shopping around to universities in hopes that they can find someone gullible enough to charter their tea party homeschoolers school. You can be sure I’ll be keeping an eye on this as things develop.