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Parents express confusion as Plato-Superior struggle plays out in public

Facebook post turns into forum on management dispute.

After Plato Academy Schools severed relations with Superior Schools and the management company sued, parents online expressed confusion and anger.

After Superior posted word of its lawsuit on its own Facebook page, some welcomed the news while others considered that bad form.

“As a Plato parent, I have been wondering what the vague messages being sent by ‘the Board’ to us parents mean for our schools, children and their future,” wrote Ashlie di Bella. “I hope to see a resolution soon.”

But Vi Stephie wrote communications should be kept on private channels, not delivered through public forms.

“It seems like [Plato Academy had] reasons and wanted to go a different route,” Stephie wrote. “They seem professional enough not to air their dirty laundry in FB. Boards and companies all the time fire people. They don’t say make it public on a social media forum. That’s bad business.”

For its part, Superior Schools wrote on its Facebook that there was never an intention of airing public differences. But when Plato informed the company via email it was terminating a contract, the company felt a need to notify all interested parties.

“We did not plan on putting anything on our site until we were notified by parents that emails were being sent out indicating there were issues with the management,” wrote an administrator for the site.

“We believe it is bad business to allow parents and faculty to be in the dark or only faced with an email that was vague and confusing.”

The back-and-forth has led to other arguments on the Facebook page.

Superior contending Plato did not allow parents on the board for schools.

“We wish they would have allowed current Plato parents to join the board, so those with a vested interest in Plato would have been able to be a voice for the children and parents of Plato,” a post reads.

But Jen Ma said Superior takes too much credit for its role in schools. Superior has noted the schools have seen an increase in grades and in the number of campuses. Ma said such credit is undeserved.

“You are not in the classroom with the students every day. It bothers me that you seem to be taking the credit for the school grades,” she wrote. “It is the teachers and principals who deserve the credits and recognition for all the hard work they do daily with our children … You work behind the scene, not in the schools.”

And while Superior has stated the terminations hurts schools through stopping current construction efforts, parents countered that as well,” wrote Alexandra Bridges. “Why did the Pinellas Park location construction never get finished? It hasn’t been worked on all year!”

Superior didn’t respond specifically to that post. It did defend putting the conversation out on a social media platform.

“Please know that our post wasn’t designed to make anyone panic,” Superior administrators posted.

“That said, it’s important for the Plato Academy community to know the seriousness of the situation. We want to resolve these issues and are hoping the board will decide to follow the procedures laid out in our agreement so we can do that.”

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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