DeSantis suspends scholarships to some Florida schools for 'ties to the Chinese Communist Party'
A spokesperson for Lower and Upper Sagemont Preparatory Schools in Weston said they have no connection to the Chinese Communist Party.
Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the Florida Department of Education to suspend school choice scholarships to two private schools in Weston for having “direct ties” to the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP.
The Lower and Upper Sagemont Preparatory Schools in Weston were among four schools to be suspended. The other two were the Parke House Academy and Park Maitland School, both in Winter Park, near Orlando.
“Their connections constitute an imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of these school’s [sic] students and the public,” said a statementfrom the governor's office and FDOE issued late Friday that did not include specific details about the alleged connections to the CCP.
The governor signed legislation into law last May that prohibits any school affiliated with “a foreign country of concern” from participating in Florida’s school choice scholarship programs.
The Sagemont schools in Weston “do not have ties to any government or political party, either foreign or domestic,” according to a statement from a school spokesperson sent to South Florida media outlets.
“We are regularly acknowledged as one of the best private schools in our area and have a track record of delivering outstanding educational outcomes, which is why parents choose us,” the statement said.
“Our schools are locally run, abide by local, state and federal laws, and do not have ties to any government or political party, either foreign or domestic. Our curriculum is accredited, standards-based and academically rigorous.”
School officials said they received no advance notice of the suspension.
“We were not contacted in advance and are seeking more information regarding the basis for this decision,” according to the statement. “In the meantime, we will be working directly with our families to ensure they can remain enrolled in our school.”
State officials said they were working with non-profit scholarship funding organizations to assist students at the suspended school in finding and enrolling in nearby eligible schools.
In its statement on Friday, neither state education officials nor the governor’s office specified what the Sagemont schools ties were to the Chinese Communist Party.
But RedBroward.com, a political news website based in Broward County, reported that Fred Hu, the chairman of Primavera Capital Chairman, had written pro-Chinese Communist Party editorials in the South China Morning Post.
Primavera Capital controls California−based Spring Education Group, which owns and manages 220 private schools in the U.S., including the Sagemont schools in Weston.
Primavera, along with its affiliates, is a global investment firm “principally based in Hong Kong with operations in China, Singapore, and the United States, that is itself owned by Chinese persons residing in Hong Kong,” according to the Sagemont website.
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