Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Hostage Taken in Robbery Is Killed

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Hostage Taken in Robbery Is Killed

Article excerpt

BRADENTON

About 200 students are in limbo following a decision by the school district to cancel its contract with the Manatee YMCA's Y- Technical High School, an alternative school for at-risk youth.

The students will be encouraged to enroll in the district's other programs geared for at-risk students, including Horizons Academy, the district's adult GED program and the Florida Virtual School.

Rick Mills, Manatee schools superintendent, said in a letter addressed to Manatee YMCA CEO Sean Allison on Thursday that he'd chosen not to renew the agreement.

"After candid conversations with representatives from the Manatee YMCA this past Monday, we believe this course of action is right for the students involved, the school district as a whole and our community," Mills said in a statement. "We have the necessary infrastructure, the school capacity and capability within our district to meet the needs of these students at a significant cost savings for the district."

The district's decision to cut ties with the Y-Technical High School comes amid questions about the YMCA's financial accountability after a blistering county audit accused the organization of falsifying documents and billing the county for work that was never done.

The Manatee County Sheriff's Office opened a criminal investigation into the audit's findings after it was released, but deputies remain mum on the investigation's status.

In the letter sent to Allison, Mills said he and the district "appreciate the great partnership we have with the YMCA and will continue to seek opportunities to work cooperatively to benefit our community."

The loss of the school, which was open for two years, comes about two weeks after the Manatee Clerk of Court released an internal audit accusing YMCA officials of doctoring documents given to county officials, exaggerating attendance numbers and billing the county for services that were not provided.

In all, the audit said, investigators could not determine how $175,255 was spent by the YMCA. …

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