MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The School Board of Manatee County is set to discuss the fate of Lincoln Memorial Academy in Palmetto, one day after the school’s principal stepped down.
- Future of Lincoln Memorial Academy uncertain
- Principal Eddie Hundley resigned Monday
- School facing a deteriorating financial situation
Eddie Hundley’s resignation came after the state’s top education official, Richard Corcoran, sent numerous letters to the school leadership and the School Board of Manatee County, asking for Hundley to be removed.
“Lincoln Memorial Academy’s continued employment of Mr. Hundley flies in the face of all our efforts to provide a safe and secure learning environment for our students,” a letter dated July 16 and addressed to Superintendent Cynthia Saunders and School Board Chairman Dave Miner stated.
His educator’s certificate was revoked in May, which barred Hundley from holding a job that requires direct contact with students.
Following his resignation Monday, Hundley stated he now identifies himself as CEO and is no longer being paid as of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which began on July 1. He stated that that decision was up to the charter school's board.
“The statute does not say that I’m not allowed on school grounds, it does not say that I’m not allowed to have direct or indirect contact with kids as a person,” Hundley stated during an interview with Spectrum Bay News 9 on Tuesday morning. “What it says, is that I cannot be paid in a position that requires that.”
Hundley’s spot at Lincoln Memorial Academy came into question last year, when an investigation was launched into whether he knowingly endorsed a former employee who was facing criminal charges in order to help them land a teaching job in Sarasota.
Hundley told Spectrum Bay News 9 on Tuesday that the blame was placed on him after the school district failed to report their findings in a timely manner.
“It’s just irresponsible and an attempt to cover up what the district ultimately didn’t do,” he said.
Over the last few months, Lincoln Memorial Academy has fallen into a deteriorating financial situation. At last check, the school is facing a $250,000 deficit. Hundley stated that a portion of the financial troubles were due to a lack of funding from the district.
Mitchell Teitelbaum, General Counsel for the School District of Manatee County, stated in a news conference last week that the district is waiting to see a breakdown of the school’s financials so they can assist helping them get back on track.
“Forty one percent of their budget went to administrative expenses and that’s disproportionate,” he said. “I need to see where they can make the cuts so they can continue as a viable entity.
Hundley stated that the 41 percent statistic is inaccurate and that his school has submitted their corrective action plan as requested from Corcoran.
“I will get the legal assistance I need to get this straightened out and I will be made whole financially when all the facts and truth of this case come out,” Hundley said.