Is Bay Haven Charter Academy Discriminating?

By: Matt de Nesnera Email
By: Matt de Nesnera Email

Bay District Schools Superintendent Bill Husfelt is questioning if Bay Haven Charter Academy is accessible to all students.

"By the way some of their charter was written and the way they do some of the things, they are discriminating," explained Husfelt. "It's not intentional, we really don't think it's intentional, and that's why we want to have this discussion."

These concerns have led to Thursday's meeting between Bay Haven's Board of Directors, Husfelt and school board chairwoman Ginger Littleton.

"We don't want any student to be denied because they're ESE, or because of the color of their skin, or because they can't get transportation. It's that simple," said Husfelt.

Husfelt worries Bay Haven is not representative of Bay County, since only 5% of Bay Haven students are African-American. Bay Haven officials say they are open, and exceed the statutory requirement for racial and ethnic balance.

They select students based on a random lottery, and any parent in Bay County can fill out an application.

"To say that we're out there skimming, there's no way for us to do that," said Scotti Haney, president of Bay Haven Charter Academy, Inc. "Not only is [the lottery] how we're doing that and it's all done publicly, we're also audited."

Husfelt says the transportation policy could exclude some parents from even filling out one of those forms. Bay Haven currently only buses students who live between five and ten miles away.

"I think a lot more parents, if they didn't have to transport their kids there, would be willing to try to get into Bay Haven. That's what we hear," said Husfelt.

Bay Haven officials counter the transportation policy was written by Bay District schools. They think the board is just trying to restrict its flexibility, which they say is guaranteed by Florida statute.

"Our idea was to come in and put a model in place that we thought would deliver a fantastic edcucation for kids, and I think that's what we've done," said Haney.

Husfelt says it's now up to Bay Haven's Board of Directors to make the necessary changes to the charter.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Richard Location: Lynn Haven on Feb 27, 2012 at 07:53 AM
    People that claim discrimination are idiots, they are people who claim other people are unfair just because they don’t get their way! Do you really expect me to believe that pulling names out of a hat is unfair? Is the hat racist because it pushes all the minority kid’s name to the bottom, or are the ‘tickets’ with the kids name on them racists because the ‘crawl’ to the bottom on their own? IDIOTS!
  • by victoria Location: lynn haven on Jul 27, 2010 at 11:02 AM
    I do believe that bay haven discriminates...especially when it comes to minorities...I have been trying to have my son attend bay haven for the past 2 years,and it has been inpossible. He would be #6 and suddenly got to #133, I could not understand how he would drop so quickly to the bottom of the list...I have made several visits and the staff members have been extremely condescending towards me. I am hispanic,veteran and a professional person. I don't understand their logic or how some kids get into their school and some don't.
  • by Anonymous Location: Panama City on Apr 2, 2010 at 08:31 AM
    Bay Haven most DEFINITELY dicriminates! In more ways than one! I went there for FIVE years. Every year, I got bullied because I was 6ft tall in 6th grade. My parents went to the teachers, coaches, and administrators repeatedly. And what did they tell them? "Oh, she just has to turn the other cheek. That's what kids do these days." Ummm. No. My parents raised me well, teaching me to treat others how I want to be treated. With my size, I could have been this huge bully, but no. I came home crying every night because of how horrible some kids treated me. I finally changed schools and I adore Merritt Brown. The teachers are more involved, they push you harder, and they get to know you on a personal level. My grades shot up along with my FCAT scores. BHCA does "so amazing" because they actually CHOOSE who gets in or out. Other schools don't. But let me say, you go to ANY academic competion, and BHCA gets blown out of the water by Merritt Brown and Surfside.
  • by Teresa Location: Southport on Mar 20, 2010 at 02:56 PM
    Robert, you could use some English lessons. How about learning to put correct punctuation in the sentences. I went to public school and learned how to properly form sentences. It may be that you need to go back to English class. This is for "L". All parents need to inform the school (public, Private, or charter) about their child's needs. Only the involved parent(s) can help their child succeed in school. If, more parents were truely involved in their child's education then all schools (public, private, and charter) could have higher rates of success in their graduation rates. Involved parents are the key.
  • by L. Location: Panama City on Mar 19, 2010 at 07:07 PM
    It's true when Husfelt says that Bay Haven discriminates against ESE students. They'll accept you, but they set you up for failure by not providing enough help. My mom had to talk to each teacher and explain to them that my brother is ADHD in order to help him. Yes, Bay Haven is a wonderful school, but it has gone downhill also. It's lost some of the greatest teachers I've had because Kitts is an XXXX. I don't like Husfelt either, because as far as I'm concerned, 90% of what he says is bull.
  • by elainmir Location: Panama City on Mar 19, 2010 at 05:43 PM
    When my son is headed to sixth grade I to will be trying to get him into Bay Haven. WHY? Because I have seen what some of these schools put out. I do not talk to my children like I hear some of these parents. I do not let my children treat others badly. I challenge any of you who have NEVER experienced the joy of Everitt Middle School to head on over on any given day and enjoy the atmosphere. My child will NOT be there even if I have to pay for private school. Bay Haven is a refreshing welcome compared to the middle schools and high schools here in Bay County.
  • by elainmir Location: panama city on Mar 19, 2010 at 02:24 PM
    They don't want to lose state money per-student that leaves to go to another school (like BHCA). Boy amen isnt that the truth, why doesnt Bay Haven make a big deal out of that? I would. It does make Husfelt look bad. Why not model the success that BHCA has? No instead we have to watch Husfelt and his cronies bellow and beat their chests to try to prove they have the biggest cajones. Husfelt do yourself a favor and quit this nonsense, grant the 15 years and make yourself look good for once.
  • by troy Location: wilson on Mar 19, 2010 at 12:26 PM
    I think Husfelt raises valid issues; Bay Haven does not seem to match district demographics in a number of areas. Bay Haven may be a fine school, parity and fairness is required to give every student in Bay County the choice and opportunity for quality education.
  • by T.J. Location: Panama city on Mar 19, 2010 at 12:19 PM
    I have been trying to get my son into BHCA for years. The state of our pulic (Government) schools is exposed by the rush of parents trying to get their children into BHCA. I do not want my child exposed to the Middle and High schools we have in this county. I pray that I can get him into BHCA before he is ready for 6th grade. We need MORE charter schools and they need to go up to 12th grade.
  • by Melissa Location: Panama City on Mar 19, 2010 at 08:02 AM
    BHCA does not discriminate. Any parent can apply, and students are admitted by lottery, which is audited for equity. BDS puts the restrictions on bus transportation limits, not BHCA. BDS wants to eliminate the possibility of being embarrassed by another BHCA school, so they are denying a 15 year contract. There is NO financial liability for BDS to approve the new schools, NO financial liability for allowing BHCA teachers to enter FRS, and NO financial liability for BDS if BHCA goes broke-- so why block the BHCA charter and 15 year contract? They don't want to lose state money per-student that leaves to go to another school (like BHCA). They don't want teachers leaving BDS to go teach at a BHCA school (or Newpoint Bay, or Florida Virtual School...). Mr. Husfelt says that it's an "equity and access" issue. No, it's really a jealousy and control issue. BHCA out-performs BDS, using less resources and less money than the district, and they can't stand it.
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