At their meeting on Monday night, the board of Brighton Area Schools held a consensus vote on chartering a tea party charter school being proposed by the “American Classical Academy Coalition (ACAC)” (formerly the “American Christian Academy”.) The vote was 6-to-1 against chartering the “Lindbom Classical Academy” and a formal up-or-down vote has been put on the agenda for their next meeting.
The chances that the Brighton Area Schools will charter a new school that will be housed in the vacant Lindbom Elementary School are now very slim, with a consensus by the board of education that it has no interest in sponsoring a charter school. […]
John Conely was the only board member who voiced support for chartering the school. After the meeting, LCA Development team spokesman Dick Streetman told WHMI that those supporting chartering the academy were unable to communicate the message that Pasquale Battaglia, who has made statements construed by some as racist and inflammatory, is merely the landlord of the Lindbom property and will have nothing to say about policy or programs. However, the organization was known as American Christian Academies until fairly recently and while their website is AmericanClassicalAcademy.com, it still contains references to American Christian Academy. The board did take a vote to put the issue on the agenda as an action item for the next meeting, but it appears the chartering proposal now has little support. That’s because of the makeup of the new board, which has a very different outlook and philosophy than the former board. Streetman says his group is not deterred, and is looking at other options for chartering the school.
The statements by Battaglia weren’t “construed” as racist and inflammatory. They ARE racist and inflammatory. A short perusal of his Twitter timeline makes that abundantly clear. Given his history of promoting this school on tea party websites across the state, the BAS board members were rightfully skeptical that he would play no role other than to be the “landlord”.
Streetman published a Letter to the Editor in the Livingston County Press & Argus this week denying that their school would be a “religious school”, despite the fact that it orginated as the “American Christian Academy”. What they don’t deny is that it will be a school set up to indoctrinate students in anti-government tea party ideology and have made it clear that the Lindbom Classical Academy (LCA) would be “a conservative school”.
It is widely believed that the ACAC will now pursue a charter through the Livingston County intermediate school district. Former BAS board chair and Pat Battaglia supporter Nick Fiani, another vocal tea partier, resigned from the BAS board to run for a seat on the ISD board. This means Battaglia’s group will have at least one supporter on the ISD board should Fiani’s bid be successful.
In other news, Anita Senkowski at the Glistening, Quivering Underbelly blog identified the source of the $1.45 million used to purchase the former Lindbom Elementary school from BAS:
Miss Fortune is exclusively breaking the news that Battaglia’s financial backer is fellow Holly resident John Berry.
Berry…graduated from LSSU in 1982 with a business management degree.
Livingston County records reveal that an agreement between the Brighton Area Schools and Battaglia’s ACA Brighton Holdings LLC was officially recorded just this morning, along with a 51-page mortgage.
In addition, a newly-formed Berry entity, RJB Holding Group LLC, was revealed as the funding source for Battaglia’s $1.45 million dollar purchase.
Screen cap via Glistening, Quivering Underbelly. Click image for a larger version.
Michigan business records show that Berry’s RJB Holding Group LLC was formed on December 22, 2014 as a Domestic Limited Liability Corporation, with a registered office address in Holly, Michigan.
Although Berry’s career has shown no past involvement in the charter school industry, he’s had an extremely successful track record as both an entrepreneur and “angel investor”. (Unlike a venture capitalist, an angel investor provides seed funding to start-up ventures.)
The BAS board did exactly the right thing in rejecting the charter request of the tea party group attempting to use our tax dollars to start their “classical academy”. The LCA leadership team is clearly motivated and concerned parents and taxpayers in the area will be keeping a close eye on them as they as they pursue a charter elsewhere.