January 18, 2017 6:53 pm

Charter School Failures and Scandals Occur Nearly Every Day

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1/12/17  Charter school’s woes point to need for more oversight

“…the problems, most notably that 40 percent of the school’s graduates in the last eight years did not meet state graduation requirements — do show a need for close oversight of charters, and not just by charter school advocates, but by state public education officials.”

1/11/17  Former employee accused of stealing over $100,000 from Lakeland charter school

“A Lakeland woman was arrested Tuesday by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after stealing more than $100,000 from Seth McKeel Academy, a charter school in Lakeland.

45-year-old Ginger Collins was a former Assistant Director of Academics for the school until her resignation on September 16, 2016. She is accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the organization and creating fake companies and website to make her purchases appear legitimate.”

1/7/17  Investigation targets Las Vegas charter school’s history of shady practices

“An audit that uncovered instances of nepotism and conflicts of interest at Quest Preparatory Academy has brought the school’s previous business practices under investigation by the state Attorney General’s office and State Ethics Commission.

The 2015 audit details a web of entangled relationships between Quest’s former governing board and the nonprofit Chartered for Excellence Foundation, created by former board president David Olive.”

1/5/17  3 NC charter high schools back off promise to hire only licensed teachers

“When it applied for North Carolina money, Accelerated Learning Solutions said all teachers would be licensed. Now ALS, a for-profit company that specializes in dropout prevention and recovery, is asking North Carolina to revise the agreement and allow up to half the teachers to be unlicensed.”

1/5/17  Deadline Arrives for Durham Charter School Diploma Investigation

“That report will show their findings after the discovery that more than 50 graduates between 2014 and 2016 where wrongly given diplomas.

An internal audit revealed that many graduates during that time didn’t meet the state requirements to graduate.

The school’s executive director, Doctor Mark Tracy said last month, no one currently on staff was involved in this issue.

Tracy says in some cases students didn’t pass their courses or didn’t take the class at all.”

1/3/17  Former Aspira principal alleged misuse of federal funds

“The complaint, only recently unsealed, charged that since 2010, Aspira had made ‘repeated false representations’ to the U.S. and state Departments of Education about how federal grants were used ‘in an effort to defraud the United States of taxpayer dollars, under the guise of providing quality education to some of the nation’s neediest children.'”

12/29/16  Feds indict ex-Dover charter principal on theft charges

“The former principal of the Academy of Dover Charter could face decades in prison after being charged with embezzling $5,000 of federal money from the institution, the U.S. attorney for Delaware announced Thursday.

Noel Rodriguez, 55, was indicted on four counts of federal program theft, accused of taking money or property from 2011 to 2014, the U.S. attorney’s office said.”

12/29/16  U.S. judge nixes bid to revive closed midstate charter school

“Jones concluded, however, that the renewal rejection followed proper procedures. He credited the reasons the district gave – including sub-par academic performance – for ending New Hope’s operation.’

12/28/16  Some Pinellas charter schools have closed, but demand for them remains high

“Five charter schools shut down during the year — four of them formerly run by Newpoint Education Partners, a management company that was indicted by an Escambia County grand jury in May along with three related entities. The alleged offenses: grand theft, money laundering and aggravated white-collar crime.

The fifth charter school, University Preparatory Academy, received its third consecutive F grade from the state.

And a sixth, Florida Virtual Academy at Pinellas County, is expected to close by the end of the school year for inaccurate reporting and governance violations.”

12/26/16  Three Closing ASD Charter Schools Signal Larger Changes

“KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools plans to close a middle school it operates under the state-run Achievement School District at the end of the current school year.

And the ASD is nearing an early January deadline for organizations to run two other Memphis schools currently run by the Gestalt Community Schools charter organization until the end of the current school year.”

12/25/16  Need for cash puts charter schools in questionable company

“Between the future promise and the disappointing past of charter schools, there is Cambridge Education Group.

The Akron company and the 20 Ohio charter schools it manages are seeking to disentangle themselves from the likes of White Hat Management, a primordial force in Ohio’s charter school movement.

White Hat’s prominence is fading. The company has sold off its K-8 schools, downsizing amid competition from the state’s next generation of charter school companies, including Cambridge.”

12/23/16  Audit finds closed Ohio charter school didn’t repay $478,000

“Ohio’s auditor says a now-closed charter school in Columbus failed to repay nearly $478,000 in state foundation overpayments after overstating enrollment.

Thousands more dollars in expenses are considered questionable in the closeout audit of the ScholArts Preparatory and Career Center for Children, which closed in February 2013. Auditor Dave Yost’s office says it had trouble getting complete records from school management.”

12/22/16  County board overrules LAUSD to keep the embattled Magnolia charter schools open

“The county staff report echoed the school district’s concerns, concluding, among other things, that Magnolia failed to provide investigators, auditors and financial overseers with requested documents in a timely fashion after years of poor fiscal management.

The county review team also contended that the charter was top heavy in management, had a high student attrition rate and scheduled board meetings that were difficult for the public to participate in or see.”

12/19/16  Anatomy of a Failure: How a Promising LA Charter School Came Apart at the Seams

“SEA’s story highlights the precarious nature of small independent charter schools, and brings to light the fact that charter boards of directors are largely independent and don’t always have to account to parents, teachers and communities for decisions that affect students.”

12/19/16 NYC Comptroller Finds Financial Irregularities at Success Academy Charter Schools

The New York City Comptroller’s office said Monday that its audit of Success Academy Charter Schools found several weaknesses in financial controls and a failure to document it provided special education services to all students who needed them.

12/17/16  What’s wrong at Willow Charter Academy?

“Williams said some parents’ initial enthusiasm has given way to frustration over the school’s high teacher turnover rate, concerns about classroom management and Willow Charter’s consistently low academic scores.

 ‘When you bring in educational options, you as a parent are thinking these options are better than what you have,’ Williams said. ‘Now it’s become an option that might be worse.'”

12/16/16  Charter School’s Refusal to Admit Trans Student Forecasts Possible Future Under Trump Administration

“Last week, the San Diego American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit to force a local charter school, e3 Civic High School, to provide public data about its refusal to admit a transgender student.”

12/15/16  Capo Unified sends critical audit on Oxford charter schools to D.A.

“Board members with the Capistrano Unified School District, which oversees the Oxford’s public charter in Mission Viejo, on Wednesday night referred to District Attorney Tony Rackauckas an audit that accuses the school’s founder of “laundering” campus funds through for-profit entities run by friends and family members.”

12/15/16  Official: Charter school association violated law with $100G donation

“A publicly funded charter school association violated state law when it gifted $100,000 to the group pushing an ultimately failed ballot question to lift the state cap on charter schools, campaign finance officials have ruled.”

12/2/2016  Lack of funds forces shutdown of Jacksonville charter schools meant to help the underserved

“Administrators would not speak on camera but in a press release the board chair Cleve Warren said ‘Ultimately it would not have been in our families’ and students’ best interests to continue operating our schools at a significant financial deficit.'”