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State Investigators at Macon Private School | Education

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State Investigators at Macon Private School

Investigators from a Georgia state agency are at Macon's Progressive Christian Academy today questioning staff members.

It was not immediately clear what the investigators from Georgia's Department of Early Care and Learning were looking for. They referred questions to an agency spokesman in Atlanta. 

DECAL spokesman Reg Griffin said the agency is involved because there is a state-licensed day care at Progressive Christian Academy and described the investigation as "concerning potential employee issues." 

However, several parents and staff members raised concerns to 13WMAZ about the background of the couple that owns the school: Christina and John Hawkins.

An employee referred to the criminal record of owner Christina Hawkins and then identified her in mugshot of a woman named Christina Perera on the Florida Department of Corrections website. According to the website, Perera was charged with check fraud.

One of the aliases for Perera on the website is Christine LaRocca, the same name listed as the registered agent for H.O.P.E. Of Macon Management Corporation, which lists 151 Madison Street as its address. 

That's the same address as Progressive Christian Academy.

They could not be reached for comment. A woman who answered the phone at Progressive Christian Academy had no comment.

The school is located on Madison Street in Macon's Pleasant Hill neighborhood.

Apparently, there is no state oversight over who owns or runs private schools -- except for those that include day care.

Georgia state Department of Education spokesman Matt Cardoza said his agency has no involvement with private schools.

He referred questions on the matter to the Georgia Independent School Association.

GISA President Jeff Jackson said his group's member schools generally conduct background checks before hiring top officials.

And those officials should be approved by the school's board of directors, he said.

But neither the state nor GISA could step in to certify or disqualify an educator with a criminal record, he said.

The GISA web site does not list Progressive Christian Academy as a member school.

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