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Oceanside Collegiate Academy in Mt. Pleasant Faces Potential Shutdown

Students in uncertainty.

Oceanside Collegiate Academy in Mt. Pleasant Facing Shutdown

Education Lab |

Oceanside Collegiate Academy in Mount Pleasant is fighting back against its authorizer’s notice that it plans to close the school. The academy has requested that its authorizer, the Charter Institute at Erskine, hold an appeal hearing so that school representatives can argue against its shutdown. The hearing will take place June 5 at 10:30 a.m.

The request comes six weeks after The Post and Courier published an investigation into the controversial history of Pinnacle Charter School Management, a Florida-based corporation that runs Oceanside, Legion Collegiate Academy in York County, and Atlantic Collegiate Academy in Myrtle Beach. The investigation found Pinnacle’s founder, Michael D’Angelo, is a former Florida principal whose career was trailed by accusations of contentious relationships with his teachers and district leaders, alleged cheating scandals, lawsuits, and other issues.

After Florida school districts denied 30 of his charter applications, D’Angelo and his colleagues started looking at South Carolina as a state where they could open new ventures. Pinnacle’s schools are dual enrollment schools, meaning students can take both high school and college-level courses. They have a modified school day, giving students extra time to focus on sports or other non-academic activities.

They perform well academically and rank near the top in high school sports in the state almost every year. But misconduct allegations have dogged the schools since their inception. These included allegations of fraud, misappropriating public funds, giving vendor contracts to companies owned by high-ranking Pinnacle employees, failing to provide legally required services to some of a school’s neediest students, and other issues.

The institute threatened Oceanside with shutdown for years. It sent the school a notice of charter revocation on May 2, three weeks after the paper’s investigation was published. The Charter Institute at Erskine said the charter revocation will go into effect on June 30 if the school does not appeal.

Ricky Hazel, a spokesman for Pinnacle, declined to comment on the upcoming hearing, stating that it’s up to Oceanside’s board to handle the situation. Pinnacle is scheduled to open two new schools in the state in the fall.

Follow Hillary Flynn on @HillarySuzane.

Oceanside Collegiate Academy in Mt. Pleasant Faces Potential Shutdown

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