CBS4 News | By Massiel Leyva | April 18, 2022
Former Superintendent Carlee Simon is used to speaking at Alachua County School Board meetings. Last week she could only speak for 3 minutes. Exceeding that time, she got silenced.
She said people need to hear more about her concerns.
“We need to treat all students fairly and we need to make sure that we have systems in place to do that. And as we speak, that does not exist,” Simon said.
Her concerns center around camp crystal lake. The camp’s website says its mission includes helping people grow through outdoor experiences.
Alachua County Public Schools owns the camp, which sits in Starke. Simon said the district is mismanaging the camp’s funds.
“These are taxpayer dollars,” Simon said.
Simon said the camp’s leaders gave scholarships to people without financial needs and to some kids who don’t even live in Alachua county.
“I know that certain individuals who received scholarships did not go through the formal application, and the director just gave it. And there’s statute in the Florida expectations of the constitution are that you can’t gift and benefit people with taxpayer money,” Simon said.
In the past, Simon said the camp’s director awarded scholarships. At last week’s workshop the board discussed the possibility of having a panel decide who gets a scholarship instead of just one person.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction, but I actually would take it even further and bring more people into this and more people who have a focus directly on equity, especially associated with this scholarship,” Simon said.
CBS4 News reached out to Alachua County Public Schools, the spokesperson said because of the potential for a future lawsuit, they would not comment.
Dr. Simon said taxpayers expect more from board members.
“I’m looking forward to a board that wants to talk to the community, solve problems, and improve opportunities for all students,” Simon said.
The school board will meet tomorrow at 6 p.m.