Over the past two months I have been writing about the efforts of a group of people led by tea party zealot Pasquale Battaglia, to set up a “classical academy” in Brighton, Michigan in an elementary school building purchased from the Brighton Area Schools (BAS). The group is called the American Classical Academy Coalition and they received a $100,000 grant from the state of Michigan in 2012 to open a school in Warren. That school has never been opened despite the fact that the ACAC has received $18,448.44 from our state government.
The group purchased the Lindbom Elementary School building for $1.45 million last year but the source of that money remains a mystery. Last August, members of the Board of the so-called Lindbom Classical Academy (LCA) spoke to the BAS Board of Education in support of what they called “a conservative school”. During a meeting where they asked the BAS Board to charter their new school, LCA Board member told the BAS Board, “We really want you to hear from the parents, the taxpayers, who want another choice in school, who would like a conservative school.”
Sullivan’s choice of words is quite interesting. He makes it very clear that this school will have a politically ideological focus. It will be, in his own words, “a conservative school”. He also told the Board that their interest is to set up a school that will exclusively attract homeschoolers and not students already attending BAS schools.
Pasquale Battaglia has also made it clear in past comments that their intention is to open this school using taxpayer funds and then detach from the public school system later:
We will provide an education option tuition free working toward autonomy from the government and the government run public school systems…
When he first introduced the idea of this new school – while it was still called the American Christian Academies – Battaglia made his thoughts about the public school system very clear:
I guarantee to you folks that the kids that we see who are in the process of completely soiling the tenants [sic] of our Western Civilization are a products of the government run school systems, kindergarten thru grad school.
These so-called “government run school systems” are the very same public school systems that the ACAC are trying to become part of. With our tax dollars, of course.
In Brighton, the ACAC is pushing hard to get chartered and to create support within the community. Former BAS board chair Nick Fiani resigned and is now running for position on the Livingston County intermediate school district board. Since he has been clear that he supports Battaglia and the ACAC’s efforts to open a conservative school, it is widely believed that he wants to be on the ISD board in order to move them to charter the LCA if the BAS chooses not to.
This past week, the LCA distributed this flyer in the neighborhoods around the former Lindbom Elementary School:
Lindbom Classical Academy
Our landlord has recently purchased the Lindbom Elementary School building located at 1010 State Street in your lovely neighbohood, so we are hoping to get a little of your time.
On Saturday January 31, 2015 at 3 PM we would like to invite you to a neighborhood OPEN HOUSE to allow you a chance to know what we, fromt he Lindbom Classical Academy, wish to attempt to accomplish in your back yard.
We would also welcome an opportunity to be able to get to know each other and address any questions or concerns that you may have regarding what a Classical Charter Academy is and why we are doing this.
We hope to see you then. We will be providing some refreshments and snacks so we hope that you can make some time to meet with us on the 31st.
Lindbom Classical Academy
The flyer has no contact information and has no names of the people involved.
If you are in the area this Saturday, I encourage you to visit the LCA folks and ask them some important questions like, “Why should taxpayers fund a politically ideological school run by people who clearly despise the public school system?” Or, “Who is funding your effort with millions of dollars?” And, “Who will profit from the influx of tax dollars into your ‘conservative school’?”
[My thanks go to Karoli Kuns of Crooks and Liars who provided some research for this post. She has written about this situation HERE.]