New School Already Under Fire

School officials broke ground on Emerald Bay Academy Wednesday morning.

When it opens this fall, the academy's mission will be to put disruptive and low-performing students back on track. The school will accommodate up to 324 students who will be recommended by their administrators.

James McCalister is Bay County’s School Superintendent. "The state of Florida has given us a grant to the tune of $1.8 million. We are going to use those dollars to actually pay what it cost from the contract to work with those students."

The new school will be run by a private company called Community Education Partners.

CEP claims it can take any student and turn their academics around in one-school year, boosting their performance two grade levels, but critics say CEP can't back up those claims. Some have questioned the cost of the building and others say the New Horizons School, which is operated by the county, already serves the same students that would end up at Emerald Bay Academy.