Speaking from an empty head to mostly empty chairs—and six parents—Bay City Academy Superintendent Brian Lynch told those who attended last night's public meeting that it's "education as usual" at the charter school founded by convicted tax cheat Steven Ingersoll.
Lynch said Ingersoll's conviction doesn't have any impact on the school "right now."
But, like the late, great Sam Cooke sang, a change is gonna come.
Lynch said the shrinking charter school, which how operates from just two buildings in Bay City (having closed its Old Y campus in October 2014), is likely going to change management companies and dissolve all affiliation with Ingersoll's Smart Schools company, which currently operates Bay City Academy.
Lynch carefully neglected to remind the six attendees that Ingersoll owns the buildings, so dissolving "all affiliation" with Ingersoll will be nearly impossible.
In addition, the Bay City Academy's charter contract with its authorizer, Lake Superior State University, expires June 30, 2016, and the "application for renewal" process has already begun.
A "mid-contract review" issued to the Bay City Academy on February 27, 2014 by its authorizer, Lake Superior State University, reveals the school faces an uphill battle just to keep its charter.
The 2014 document, issued months before Steven Ingersoll was indicted, states that "the demographics of the student population in Bay City, and also at North Central Academy, present challenges."
The student population at Bay City Academy has "a higher percentage of special education and economically disadvantaged students than in surrounding districts. The teaching staff is generally younger and less experienced. Turnover of staff is greater."
Referencing "concerns about the building, widely published locally, and concerns about (other) student behavior and academic growth have affected enrollment and revenues", the report warns that expectations in Lansing and from the authorizer are that improvements in student achievement must occur at an accelerated pace.
Lynch said a new management company hasn't been identified at this point. Rather, he said, a company would approach the Bay City Academy school board or officials from Lake Superior State University and pitch their business plan.
In what may be the most delicious of Freudian slips, Lynch was quoted by the Bay City Times saying: "Depending on what level of involvement the next management company has, it could mean more or less change. My recommendation is that we take the side of the spectrum as of little change as possible. I don't want to be replaced, I don't want to leave and I'm going to fight hard for my job."
Like Full Spectrum Management, run by Lynch's father-in-law, Mark Noss?
You all know Mark Noss as the man who predicted in a cringe-worthy email Ingersoll's tax conviction last year (at left). But Mark Noss is also the man who sat at the head of the Grand Traverse Academy Board of Directors, presiding over the charter school during the years when Noss' business partner Ingersoll systematically made off with $3.5 million dollars of taxpayer money.
What the hell is wrong with this state?
According to the Bay City Times, Lynch is hoping an answer could come soon.
With uncertainty surrounding his job, Lynch claims he has yet to call Bay City his full-time home, often making a five-hour, 290-mile round trip commute from his home in Traverse City to Bay City or a 90-minute, 75-mile round trip from Traverse City to Bay City Academy's North Central Campus in Mancelona—that is, when he isn't staying at Bay City's Webster House bed & breakfast--courtesy of its owner Steven Ingersoll.(Wonder if Lynch declares the $125.00-$299.00 per night value of that housing on his personal income tax form?)
If he's able to retain his superintendent job, Lynch said he would seek housing in Bay City.
The Bay City Times also reports that Nick Oshelski, executive director of charter schools at LSSU, met with the university's legal counsel Wednesday and hopes to provide options for the school in the coming weeks.
"I'm hoping whatever is decided can happen smoothly," Oshelski said. "The academy has been moving along very nicely as far as academics and its culture. We don't want to see anything happening in a negative matter."
Miss Fortune wonders if Mr. Oshelski believes in unicorns, too?