POINT OF VIEW: Board members should do what’s right or resign

More than 20,000 students attend 48 charter schools in Palm Beach County. The majority of those schools and their nonprofit board members do an excellent job of providing parents with a public school choice. Charter schools exist because parents choose to send their children there — if parents withdrew their children the schools would close down.

Recently, I have been reading The Palm Beach Post’s coverage about Eagle Arts Academy’s current state of affairs. Everyone in our community who’s read this coverage must ask themselves how could this happen. All of us are extremely disappointed and embarrassed by what we have read. As a former member of the Florida House of Representatives who wrote our charter school laws, I hold each of the Eagle Arts board members responsible. And state law holds them accountable.

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Charter schools in Florida are governed by voluntary nonprofit boards. These are the school board members for the charter school they represent. They have two primary responsibilities: first is the well-being of each student; and second is the fiduciary responsibility for protecting how taxpayer dollars are spent. The board, under state law, must approve the school’s budget and set policy for the school. The Eagle Arts board is responsible for the budget and policies they have adopted. In their capacity as protectors of taxpayer dollars, they have failed miserably and should be fired. As a resident of Palm Beach County, I hold each board member of Eagle Arts accountable for what has transpired. They have an opportunity to be honorable and do what is right for children. One board member resigned in an effort to correct what is happening at Eagle Arts. I commend Tim Quinn for having the courage to do what is right for children. I commend each of the Palm Beach County School Board members for taking action on behalf of the children by giving the charter school a 90-day notice to terminate their contract.

It is now time for the board members of Eagle Arts to do what is right for the children. Each board member has the authority under state statute to act immediately on behalf of the students and the teachers. They can make decisions under state statute and take immediate action to protect the children, and protect the teachers. If they do not want to do what is right for children then they should resign their position as board members.

Over 200,000 students in Florida attend charter schools. These students and their parents are being embarrassed on a daily basis by the lack of courage and integrity of each of the Eagle Arts Academy board members.

Message to the Eagle Arts board members: You are responsible and have the authority to act, our community is watching you and will hold you accountable for your actions.


Editor’s note: Ralph Arza, president of The Arza Consulting Group, is a school choice advocate. He wrote this for The Palm Beach Post.

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