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Exclusive: Charter school leader confronts rival school for recruiting across the street from campus

Posted: 11:34 PM, Apr 05, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-06 14:27:59Z

As one charter school faces potential closing, another charter school pitched a tent across the street to recruit students and teachers away. 

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The Palm Beach School District gave The Eagle Arts Academy in Wellington until June to prove its financially stable or it will be forced to close. Teachers haven’t been paid since mid-March. 

After a board meeting on campus, leaders from Eagle Arts, led by Executive Director Greg Blount, confronted Renaissance Charter school personnel, including principal Jackson Self, who had set up shop across the street with promotional fliers and swag for their school. 

“We’re giving you guys an opportunity if you close,” Self said. 

“We’re not closing,” Eagle Arts staff fired back. 

“Well if you did,” Self said. 

“Half of our kids came from Renaissance and they aren’t going back,” Blount said. 

“We’re here to giving you guys an option,” Self said.

“They’re obviously disgruntled,” he said to our camera as Eagle Arts personnel walked back to campus. 

Blount at the board meeting in the school’s library, said he had $300,000 in committed donations but needs another $200,000 to stay open. 

“I’m here because I care about the school. I care about the teachers,” said Miriam Naranjo, who’s daughter is a 4th grader at Eagle Arts. She says the school has been great for her daughter’s education. 

If the school somehow stays open, she would keep her daughter here under one condition: Greg Blount is no longer in charge, citing a series of damning Palm Beach Post articles citing misspending. 

“He’s a dark spot on the school right now and it’s overwhelming all of the positive that the school has to offer,” she said. 

Blount broke down in tears addressing his damaged reputation. 

“(I ask that you) not judge me and crucify me before giving me a fair trial,” Blount said. 

About 30 minutes later, he was sparring with a rival school. 

At the closed door meeting between parents and the school, parents volunteered donations to help sustain the school and pay its teachers. 

Blount also listened to concerns from parents that he said he will address at a later date.