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Thursday, September 16, 2021

STATE OF MICHIGAN LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO BAY CITY ACADEMY: Charter School Subject Of Michigan Department of Education “Certification Status” Inquiry Regarding Superintendent Brian Lynch; State Can Reduce School Aid Payments To Recoup Amount Paid To Lynch

BREAKING NEWS! "Glistening, Quivering Underbelly" has learned that the Michigan Department of Education opened an investigation in August 2021 into the certification status of Brian Lynch, who became Superintendent of the Bay City Academy at the beginning of the 2016/2017 school year without the School Administrator Certification required by the state.

Michigan law requires all public school administrators (charter schools are considered "public schools" under the law) who oversee business operations or instructions to be certified by the state within three years of taking the position. 

If administrators do not take the necessary classes and obtain certification from the state within the three-year span, the district or school cannot continue to employ them, under Michigan law.

A former teacher, Lynch was hired by the Bay City Academy at the beginning of the 2013/2014 school year as an "Education Consultant" by Academy founder, Steven J. Ingersoll. Lynch formerly taught at the Grand Traverse Academy, managed at the time by Ingersoll.

Roughly one month before Ingersoll's April 11, 2014 federal tax evasion indictment was unsealed, the Academy's Board of Education voted during its March 23, 2014 meeting to remove Ingersoll, and appointed Lynch as the charter school's new Superintendent and President of Instructional Services.

A federal jury found Ingersoll guilty of three of the six criminal counts named in the indictment (two counts of attempting to evade or defeat tax and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States) on March 10, 2015.

Six weeks after Ingersoll's conviction, the Bay City Academy announced in an April 29, 2015 news release that Mitten Educational Management, LLC, incorporated on April 10, 2015 by Lynch and metro Detroit accountant Michael Randel, was hired as the Academy's new management company.

After an abortive attempt to shoehorn former North Central Academy Principal, Patrick Cleland, into the job, Kurt Grangood (another North Central Academy staffer) served as the Bay City Academy's Superintendent for one school year (2015/2016), earning a compensation package of $60,420. 

Grangood's Michigan School Administrator certificate was issued on October 6, 2014 and has subsequently been renewed.

Lynch has served as the Bay City charter school's "Superintendent" beginning with the 2016/2017 through the current school year.

While Lynch and his Mitten Educational Management business partner contractually earn an annual management fee equivalent to 9 percent of the Bay City Academy's revenues (management fees paid during the year ending June 30, 2020, the last year reported,were $323,389), Lynch's annual compensation as Superintendent was significantly higher than Grangood's $60,420 package.

In 2016/2017, Lynch was paid a $98,986 salary and benefits package; $102,440 in 2017/2018; $82,050 in 2018/2019; and a nearly identical amount ($82,550) in 2019/2020.

However, beginning with the 2020/2021 year, Lynch's Superintendent compensation disclosure went from this format:

 


 to this one:

 


You'll note the disclaimer at the bottom: "Mr. Lynch does not receive a salary from Bay City Academy. He is paid directly by Mitten Educational Management LLC. Mr. Lynch is currently not nor has he ever been compensated by Bay City Academy for work performed post May 1, 2015 when he founded Mitten Educational Management."

As the Brits say, too clever by half.

No one employed at the Bay City Academy receives a salary from Bay City Academy; everyone who works at the school is an employee of the management company and is leased to the school, and paid, by Mitten.

Including Brian Lynch.

All prior Superintendent salary/benefits disclosures, revealing the often staggering amount paid to Lynch, have been scrubbed from the Bay City Academy's website, and replaced with the "Mr. Lynch doesn't receive a salary" deceptive bullshit.

Under Michigan law, failing to obtain certification during the required time frame has significant consequences. The consequences can be stiff, and the state can reduce school aid payments to recoup the amount paid to "administrators" like Lynch during the time they worked without certification.

Also, any school official who knowingly employs a non-certified administrator is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $1,500 for each instance.

The Bay City Academy, under supervision by the Michigan Treasury department since 2018 and entering its sixth year in financial deficit, could take a significant financial hit due to "Double-Dipper" Lynch's antics.

Stay tuned; tomorrow I'll have more exclusive details gleaned from my latest Freedom of Information Act request.

 




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