ONLY ON 3: Charter school founder speaks about schools, lawsuit

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The president of Roger Bacon Academy is speaking out about the charter school system. This comes after Baker Mitchell filed a defamation lawsuit against former Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Edward Pruden.

“There are a lot of details in there that I think speak for themselves,” Mitchell said of the suit.

Mitchell stayed pretty tight-lipped about the suit filed last week, but he openly discussed his charter schools’ success, including student test scores.

“One of the purposes of a charter school is to transition from a rules-based accountability to a performance-based accountability,” Mitchell said. “We’re required to take all the same tests that the traditional schools do, and yet we operate on a much restricted budget.”

Mitchell said that budget is 73 percent of what public schools spend; it’s a reason schools don’t have transportation or lunches provided.

“We get no facility funds,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the budget issue is also a reason that prevents him from building charter high schools.

“We feel that there are good high schools that the children can transition to,” Mitchell said.

Budgets were a big topic in the lawsuit Mitchell filed. One statement he’s fighting in the suit says RBA is profiting millions at the expense of public school children.

“Well I could be profiting millions. Maybe I’m losing millions. But that’s besides the point,” Mitchell said. “I think the people that are profiting are the kids, because they have a better education in Charter Day School schools then they do in any other school, and they’re getting it for a savings of the taxpayer.”

When reached for comment, Dr. Edward Pruden provided a statement.

“The absolute and ultimate defense is truth,” Pruden wrote. “Therefore, I am not concerned.”

Mitchell didn’t care to speak about his relationship with Pruden.

“Let’s just say we have differing opinions,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell’s attorney Gene Boyce said they originally asked Pruden for an apology for his comments, and when he did not respond they filed the suit.

Boyce said they’re prepared to go to trial seeking $100,000 in damages.

Categories: Brunswick

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