Collier County news Newsletter Top Featured Top Story

Special counsel report finds problems at Mason Classical Academy

Special counsel report finds problems at Mason Classical Academy


What’s going on behind closed doorways at Mason Classical Academy?

A report from the Faculty District of Collier County particular counsel found a scarcity of monetary oversight, Sunshine Regulation violations and mismanagement by some directors.

“We listened to lots of people and those individuals included mother and father, school members,” Fishbane stated.

Now, Special Counsel Joe Fishbane has referred to as for two of the board members for the charter faculty to resign. His report comes after MCA’s former Treasurer Jon Baird complained to the state.

“All they needed was to hide every little thing from me,” Fishbane stated.

The state informed the Faculty District of Collier County to take a better look.

“When issues acquired dangerous sufficient,” Fishbane stated, “that’s once I appeared on the state of affairs and I stated, ‘I’ve to do something.’”

Fishbane’s report seems to be at past emails, meetings and knowledge from witnesses accusing the academy of breaking its constitution contract by not having a finance committee in place since 2015, along with the administration of mistreating mother and father and students.

Fishbane recommends training, a change in leadership and a evaluation of the board of operations, slightly than closing the varsity. Baird agrees, telling WINK Information charter faculties must be higher held accountable.

“You possibly can’t look away,” Fishbane stated. “They need to be addressed and something needs to occur.”


Mason Classical Academy despatched the next in response to a press release:

Pricey Mason Classical Academy Group,


Mason Classical Academy has been a tremendous success story because it first opened its doors in 2014. The whole workforce of students, mother and father, academics, employees and board of administrators are to be recommended for their perseverance and willingness to study the true, do the great and love the gorgeous.  As with all worthwhile achievement, the journey has not been with out its challenges.  There have been many uphill battles, particularly at first, but probably the most unimaginable second occurred in Might of 2014 once we have been registering tons of of scholars at Sports activities Club.  Faculty was scheduled to begin in mid-August, and we have been registering students with no facility.  That’s proper, we have been months away from the first day of faculty and we had not yet secured an precise building to hold courses.  We had no concept there can be so many mother and father prepared to take that leap of faith with us.  The varsity was principally just an concept at that point.  What an astounding testament to the facility of a mum or dad’s want for the very best for his or her youngster.

As chances are you’ll know, there have been many other challenges for the varsity since its opening.  The district tried to non-renew our constitution in 2017 after a pretend information story appeared within the paper about low interest mortgage provides being refused – which never occurred. No comply with up story was ever revealed. There have been hoaxes in the information regarding potty coaching accidents – which by no means happened.  No comply with up story was ever aired.  A Division of Youngsters and Family Providers investigation into alleged misconduct story appeared within the local paper – no misconduct was uncovered. No comply with up story was ever revealed.

Corrupt board members have come and gone.  One had to resign after it was found that he was cashing in on loans that the varsity took from a trust he was invested in.  Another resigned underneath a cloud of suspicion that he might have violated Sunshine Laws throughout his try and unseat the board chair with the illegal and unethical promise of low interest loans in change for the chair’s resignation.

In June 2018, the Florida Division of Schooling forwarded a grievance that they acquired from a former Mason Classical Academy (MCA) dad or mum to Collier County Public Faculties (CCPS).  Soon after receiving the grievance, CCPS lawyer, Jon Fishbane, began compiling complaints concerning the faculty and its leaders.

On October 5, 2018, MCA first discovered of Mr. Fishbane’s efforts by way of a Naples Every day Information article.  The article states, partially: “Jennifer Kupiec, spokeswoman for Collier faculties, stated in an e-mail that the district is ‘rigorously’ wanting into Baird’s considerations but didn’t provide more details about how the investigation is being carried out.”

On multiple occasions, between October 2018 and April 2019, the MCA board and its lawyer, Shawn Arnold, requested updates on the progress of the Fishbane investigation.  Having full information of the allegations contained within the former mum or dad’s grievance, the MCA board hired an outdoor accounting firm, McCrady and Associates, to examine the varsity’s funds.  The agency discovered no evidence of any monetary mismanagement.

In April 2019, Mr. Fishbane, by means of MCA’s lawyer, knowledgeable the varsity that he was not accepting any documentation from MCA “until it’s extraordinary.”  Mr. Fishbane additionally informed MCA that he can be finishing his investigation “in three weeks.”  By this time, Mr. Fishbane had not interviewed a single MCA worker or board member.


Due Process

Mr. Fishbane meant to launch his report without visiting the varsity, with out interviewing any staff or board members or inspecting any data in the faculty’s possession.  When pressed on the deserves of an investigation absent the foregoing elements, Mr. Fishbane agreed to interview one employee, David Hull.  None of Mr. Hull’s statements have been included in Mr. Fishbane’s June 3, 2019 report to the CCPS board.  Nor have been any of the themes addressed within the report mentioned throughout Mr. Hull’s interview.  By any truthful measure, none of the topics of Mr. Fishbane’s investigation have been afforded due process.  Whether or not you’re supportive of the leadership at MCA or not, definitely all People can agree that we must be afforded due process when being accused of wrongdoing.

Mr. Fishbane’s Report to the CCPS Board

Mr. Fishbane’s unredacted report back to the CCPS board was emailed to the MCA board and its lawyer on June three, 2019.  The report was summarized at the June 4, 2019 CCPS board meeting throughout Mr. Fishbane’s closing comments.  The redacted report, which Mr. Fishbane committed to supply on the June 4thCCPS board assembly, has not but been posted.  It is alarming that the unredacted model was launched by the district, because it incorporates personally identifiable scholar knowledge, which is protected by the Family Instructional Rights and Privateness Act (FERPA) of 1974.

Mr. Fishbane’s report incorporates numerous allegations towards the MCA board and its principal.  It also consists of a number of suggestions for remediation, including the removing of the varsity’s board and principal.  Up to now, CCPS has not made any calls for of or made any suggestions to the MCA board. Only the CCPS board could make demands of or recommendations to the MCA board.  Mr. Fishbane’s report, together with its conclusions and proposals, are merely his report to the CCPS board.  The CCPS board, as they plainly admitted during their June 4thmeeting, doesn’t have the authority to demand the removing or inclusion of any charter faculty board member or principal.

Hillsdale School

On June 6, 2019, in response to Mr. Fishbane’s allegations, Hillsdale School despatched aletter to the MCA board.  Previous to talking with anybody at MCA concerning the report, the school’s new provost wrote that he agreed with Mr. Fishbane’s recommendations and demanded that MCA comply, or face dropping its contractual relationship with the varsity.  Per MCA’s contract with Hillsdale, they need to give prior written discover to the MCA board 60 days prior to terminating its contractual agreement with MCA.  However we absolutely intend to restore our relationship with the school.

Presently, Hillsdale isn’t yet aware that Mr. Fishbane’s investigation lacked any testimony from the accused and sought no documentation from the varsity. We consider Hillsdale’s newly installed provost, Chris VanOrman, was simply caught off guard, had no information of the political environment in Collier County, and had a knee-jerk reaction to Mr. Fishbane’s report.  The MCA board is aware of Hillsdale absolutely supports the U.S. Constitution and can proceed to pursue fact and defend liberty.

It also needs to be famous that the Hillsdale letter was solely sent to the MCA board, Mr. Adam Miller (FDOE) and Mr. Fishbane.  It is alarming that this letter was leaked to the public earlier than MCA had a chance to talk with Hillsdale.

MCA Board Meeting

The board chair, Kelly Lichter, was overseas on vacation when the report was released and instantly scheduled a Special Board Assembly for June eight, 2019 at 12:00 pm to discuss what actions the MCA board should take.  At that meeting, the board members heard public comment, and addressed the Fishbane report and the letter from Hillsdale School by directing Shawn Arnold to draft a response to each events.

The MCA Board’s Official Response

The Mason Classical Academy governing board is in receipt of Mr. Fishbane’s report back to the Collier County Public Faculty board.  The governing board is disturbed and astounded by Mr. Fishbane’s allegations and takes them very significantly.  Nevertheless, we aren’t prepared to act on Mr. Fishbane’s suggestions presently.  If the governing board ever succumbs to the “suggestions” of a corrupt system, MCA will stop to exist and the new “district permitted” board will basically change every facet of the varsity.

As MCA’s sponsor and an agency that has retained a substantial proportion of the varsity’s annual revenue for administrative and academic providers since 2014, we’re somewhat dismayed that CCPS has nevercommunicated any of the considerations alleged in Mr. Fishbane’s June 3rdreport.  For 5 years we’ve got been beneath the district’s watchful eye as a high performing constitution faculty.  At no time in the course of the faculty’s existence has the district ever expressed any of the considerations or legal allegations contained in Mr. Fishbane’s report.

Nonetheless, because of the seriousness of Mr. Fishbane’s allegations and MCA’s dedication to pursuing fact, the governing board has a proper and duty to research these allegations.  We must do what is in one of the best interest of the varsity and we owe it to the group to show the reality, whatever that could be.  In the direction of that end, the governing board has voted to rent an investigative regulation agency to look at the contents of the report.  This firm will conduct a radical, unbiased, unbiased and correct investigation into every allegation contained within the Fishbane report.

Once this process is full, a complete report might be offered to the mother and father of MCA, CCPS and Hillsdale School.  MCA may even host a public assembly the place the regulation firm will current their findings to the mother and father and basic public.  A query and reply session will comply with the presentation of this unbiased investigation.  The assembly will probably be video recorded and made obtainable on-line as properly.

Finally, allowing a faculty district to dictate who cannotand who canserve or work for a privately governed charter faculty is a precedent that this governing board is unwilling to set.  MCA’s governing board believes in the elementary precept of due process – a right endowed to us by our creator and enumerated within the U.S. Constitution’s 5thand 14thamendment.

Please know that the continued success of Mason Classical Academy is of paramount importance to the governing board, and we’ll do the whole lot within our power and authority to protect the varsity’s mission and viability.  Thank you in your continued prayers and help.


Board of Directors

Mason Classical Academy

We also talked with Hillsdale School in Michigan, which supports Mason Classical Academy. It stated no comment.