TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – A Miami private school is challenging a decision by the Florida Department of Education to shut off student-scholarship money through two voucher-like state programs.READ MORE: Florida Task Force 1 & 2 Demobilizing After Month-Long Deployment At Surfside Condo Collapse Site
Last July, Education Commissioner Pam Stewart notified RJW The Academy of Arts & Sciences that it could no longer take part in the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program and the John M. McKay Scholarship for Students with Disabilities Program.
Stewart’s letter alleged that the school “engaged in fraudulent activity” by submitting a document that improperly indicated the school had passed a fire inspection. The letter said the school submitted a copy of a fire-inspection report dated July 16, 2014, but a department check revealed that the inspector listed on the report had retired March 27, 2014.
The department said the school could not take part in the scholarship programs for the 2015-16 academic year and requested the return of about $70,000 from the 2014-15 year.READ MORE: State Sets Up Hotline For Condo Consumer Protection Issues In Wake Of Surfside Collapse
The school filed a legal challenge, which was sent last week to the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, with a judge scheduled to hold a hearing September 25th.
In the appeal, school administrator Wilnard J. Baker, Sr., pointed to paperwork problems and denied that the school acted fraudulently.
“We have made all efforts to abide by the rules and regulations of the state of Florida and the city of Miami,” the appeal argued. “There are no fraudulent activities at our school. We are a law-abiding institution and we will continue to be.”MORE NEWS: Issue Of Face Masks For Florida Students Drawing National Attention
The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.