Education

As dispute continues, school district announces press conference on Lincoln Memorial charter school

Hundley shares his goal for Lincoln Memorial during town hall

Eddie Hundley, the head of Lincoln Memorial Academy, held a town hall to address recent controversies and future plans.
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Eddie Hundley, the head of Lincoln Memorial Academy, held a town hall to address recent controversies and future plans.

The School District of Manatee County will hold a press conference on “issues related to local charter school Lincoln Memorial Academy” on Wednesday afternoon, according to a news release.

Manatee will deliver its press briefing nearly one week after Lincoln Memorial hosted a town hall and approximately 200 people at the Palmetto-based charter school, which has faced questions about its finances and leadership. Its chief executive officer, Eddie Hundley, addressed his concerned supporters, who feared for the school’s future.

Hundley and his governing board said Lincoln Memorial’s troubles followed a calculated attack by the school district, and they pushed for a vocal turnout at the school board’s July 23 meeting. In response, district officials said they had no intention of revoking the school’s charter, but they also highlighted a need to comply with state law and the charter school’s contract.

The issues are two-fold, and they started with a revocation of Hundley’s educator license about two months ago. An administrative law judge cited Lincoln Memorial’s leader for twice endorsing a former employee who was under criminal investigation, helping him secure a teaching job in Sarasota County. A state body finalized the judge’s sanctions on May 13.

In its final order, the Education Practices Commission said a revoked license barred employment “in any capacity requiring direct contact with students.” Though he no longer serves as the principal, Hundley is still the head of Lincoln Memorial, a job that likely requires his presence on campus.

The second issue came to light in a May 29 memo from the district’s chief financial officer, Heather Jenkins, to the school’s leadership. It said Lincoln Memorial was in a “deteriorating financial condition,” highlighting a deficit of more than $235,000 by the end of April.

That deficit grew to more than $251,000 by the end of May. Hundley said he feels Lincoln Memorial was shortchanged by the district, and he recently filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Education, regarding the school’s Title I funding.

In turn, district officials said Lincoln Memorial received all of the funding that was due in its first year as a charter school.

The news conference is set for 1 p.m. at the district’s School Support Center, 215 Manatee Ave. W., in downtown Bradenton.

School board members will continue the discussion at their upcoming workshop, scheduled for July 23 at 2 p.m.

In six notices over two weeks, the school district questioned the finances, transparency and leadership at Lincoln Memorial Academy.

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