After Brighton Area Schools declined to charter their school the organizers of the proposed charter school in Brighton called the Livingston Classical Academy, formerly the Lindbom Classical Academy – which is part of the American Classical Academy group, formerly the American Christian Academy – have not given up. According to two recent articles, the group continues to shop around for a charter authorizer to authorize their alternative to what founder Pasquale Battaglia calls “government-run schools”.
In the first article in the Livingston County Press & Argus, LCA “development team leader” Dick Streetman put a happy face on the fact that they probably won’t be opening their school this fall:
“We still plan on pushing to find a charter regardless if we open this fall,” said Dick Streetman, LCA development team leader. “We already have 200 interested families.”
LCA has “many possibilities for a charter;” however, Streetman said because nothing is official, they were not disclosing any specific information on prospects.
“We are working with numerous” potential charters, he said.
Those interested in partnering with a charter have different needs when looking for a partner, which is what Streetman attributes to being turned down twice.
It could also be that they’ve been turned down twice because of Battaglia’s steady stream of anti-government, racist, tea party-fueled online comments over the past several years. Interestingly, Battaglia appears to no longer be the face of the LCA. Instead, we now have Streetman and Phillip Kilgore of Hillsdale College. Hillsdale College is the highly conservative group that would provide the curriculum for the LCA. That fact, along with statements made by Battaglia early on, lead many to fear that the LCA will be a conservative religion-focused school disguised to be something else. In the Press & Argus piece, Kilgore attempts to explain why nobody seems to want to charter the LCA saying, “We just need to find a charter that meets their needs.”
The Press & Argus piece ends with this statement:
LCA is the same charter school Brighton resident Glenn Ikens was arrested at for trespassing during an invite-only meeting for families interested in learning more information about the school. Ikens arraignment is set for Friday, April 3. Ikens lives in the same neighborhood the former Lindbom Elementary school sits in.
The use of the phrase “invite-only” is curious and is, in fact, a shoddy piece of journalism. Here’s how the actual invitation to the event where Ikens was arrested read:
It’s hard to construe “come one, come all” to mean “by invitation only”.
A second article on WHMI Radio’s website describes the altercation in a much more accurate fashion:
Meanwhile, a court hearing is approaching later this week for a critic of the proposed charter school who was arrested after showing up for a public curriculum meeting, although he was never disruptive. The building’s owner, Pat Battaglia, said he asked Glenn Ikens to leave based on his past criticism of both Battaglia personally and the proposed school. When Ikens refused, the police were called. Ikens, who lives less than two blocks away from the school, will be arraigned Friday on the misdemeanor trespassing charge.
One thing that remains a mystery is the man who provided the $1.45 million for the LCA to purchase the Lindbom Elementary school in the first place. The Glistening, Quivering Underbelly blog exclusively reported that the funding was provided by Holly resident John Berry. However, Berry has remained silent and behind the scenes as others – first Battaglia and LCA spokesperson Jay McNally and now Hillsdale College’s Kilgore – are the public face of the LCA. There’s certainly more to that story than has been revealed so far.