Florida yanked four private school campuses, including the top-rated Park Maitland School, from its voucher programs because of “direct ties to the Chinese Communist Party,” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said late Friday.
The announcement by DeSantis — who has called the Communist Party of China the United States’ “greatest geopolitical threat” — did not provide any evidence of the ties it found between China and Park Maitland and two private schools in South Florida.
But Park Maitland, which serves students in preschool through eighth grade, says on its website that it is part of Spring Education Group, “a network of more than 230 private schools.” Spring Education, the website says, “is controlled by Primavera Holdings Limited, an investment firm (together with its affiliates) 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.”
DeSantis this spring signed a bill that prohibits private schools that take part in state voucher programs from being owned or controlled “by a person or entity domiciled in, owned by, or in any way controlled by a foreign country of concern or a foreign principal.” The new law lists China as one of the countries “of concern.”
Park Maitland officials could not be reached late Friday. The school, founded in 1968, has its main campus on U.S. Highway 17-92 in Maitland.
A news release from DeSantis’ office said the schools’ connections to China “constitute an imminent threat to the health, safety, and welfare of these school’s students and the public.”