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Tampa Bay Times reporter Diane Steinle sees the unseemly details of a taxpayer-funded charter school as one of North Pinellas biggest stories of the year:
Life Force Arts and Technology Academy, a publicly funded charter school in Dunedin, was open for only two years, but in that time it accumulated a lengthy list of shortcomings: mismanagement, misappropriation of funds, deviations from the authorized curriculum, bankruptcy and some of the lowest student test scores in the Tampa Bay area.
Students lacked for school supplies, and teachers were paid only $85 a day, with no benefits or contracts.
Life Force was already in bankruptcy when Hanan Islam and her Clearwater company, the Art of Management, took control of the school in the summer of 2011. Islam gave teachers lesson plans based on the work of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, saying Hubbard’s “study tech” would help save the school.