KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Despite the strong allegations, parents and students are still defending the Florida Aviation Academy in Kissimmee.
- Osceola school board votes to close aviation Charter school
- Florida Aviation Academy in Kissimmee to close after a number of accusations
- School providing hands-on training in aviation field
One of Gabriel Clark’s dreams was to get into the aerospace industry but those dreams have now been shattered.
“And I am just sad that everything had to be wrecked,” Clark said.
Clark was attending the Florida Aviation Academy, a charter located at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport, that promises hands-on training in the aviation field while students take high school classes.
Clark’s mom, Katya Calixtro said, “You will be in that school and you will see happy faces wherever you walk in and that is amazing for me. I don't see that in a regular high school.”
The Osceola County school board voted to terminate the charter due to a number of accusations, including:
- Falsification of academic records
- Not having a school resource officer each day
- Double billing the state
- Lack of teachers — seven teachers resigned on December 7, 2018
- Misspending public money at questionable vendors such as massage envy
The charter on the other hand does not agree with the claims. Todd Hoepkar, an attorney for Florida Aviation Academy, spoke out during a school board meeting and said, “it requires that the grounds for termination be proven with clear and convincing evidence which is a very high standard to meet. And it is our position that none of what has been alleged in that notice rises to that level.”
The 111 FAA students are being automatically transferred to Osceola High School once classes resume on January 8.
However, Gabriel and his mom feel the closure was too abrupt and that the charter school should have been given more time to make their case.
“Why don’t we just pick up the pieces and build it again?” Clark said.
FAA has officially appealed to the school board. The school district spokesperson said the State of Florida Division of Administrative Hearings will be working with FAA and the school board to schedule a hearing.