Sis. DeVondalyn Hughes: With a degree from Florida State University, she was ready to pursue her dream of teaching. From the moment she graduated, she encountered many obstacles that kept her from the classroom. On the verge of giving up, the Lord blessed her with a wonderful job…ajob that was offered to her and taken away in the same day. That prompted her to fall on her knees again and contend with God for deliverance. He answered her. Now with a Master’s Degree in hand, God has blessed her with a good job and she continues to pursue her dream of having her own school.And, lo, a school was provided, a charter school without earthly requirements or restrictions. And Arne said, it is good.
Apparently the Lord did not tell Sister Hughes, CEO of the Patterson Academy, that she had to pay her teachers or pay the rent at the empty office building that served as school.
Just another day in the corporate education reform world relieved of burdensome restrictions, oversight, or standards. Praise the Lord, and pass that $500,000, please: "Charter schools apply to the school board for a license and public funding, but operate more like a private school. Johnson said Patterson Academy received a $250,000 start-up grant and has received $250,190 in additional funding since July."
Duval County's rocky experience with charter schools continued Friday when Patterson Academy for the Arts was evicted from its Arlington location, leaving more than 70 students wondering where to show up for school Monday.
The academy's students were told Friday between 10:30 and 11 a.m. to leave the school, located in the old FBI building at 7820 Arlington Expressway.
The school's principal, De Vondalyn Patterson-Hughes, did not return calls for comment. Amnon Pri-Hadash the owner of the school's landlord, Hollywood-based HAI Investments, could also not be reached.
The first-year charter school had fallen behind on paying its employees and its rent, according to a Nov. 3 letter it received from Duval County Public Schools. The letter also stated that the academy had been served two eviction notices by Nov. 2.
The school started this year on shaky ground. It faced closure in late August because of a lack of health permits and safety testing. The school provided enough documentation to remain open in August.
Evonne Allen, whose son attends the school, said she received a phone call from her son about 10:30 a.m. giving her the news.
"Ms. De Vondalyn came in very politely," she said, recounting her son's call, "and told us all that we need to leave."
Allen said she believes in the school and wants it to be successful. She reserved judgment on the eviction until she hears from Patterson-Hughes.
Jill Johnson, spokeswoman for Duval County Public Schools, said the district is advising parents to contact the academy on Monday to see if it is open. If not, parents are advised to call the district's school choice office at 390-2144 to see what charter or non-charter school options are available.
There hasn't been a history of success with charter schools in Duval. Nine of the 14 charter schools that opened between 1997 and 2008 have closed. Those schools were plagued by a variety of problems, including insolvency, highly questionable money transactions and poor performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. One school was caught cheating on FCAT.
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