January 2021

JAN 29, 2021 – Charter school broadly overstates its ‘brick and mortar’ offerings, must pay $300K, state saysln Memorial Academy

The Indiana Agriculture and Technology School has wrongly described itself as operating as a “brick-and-mortar” school and improperly receiving thousands of dollars in state support while operating almost entirely online, according to the investigation. And, SBOA said, the school owes the state more than $300,000 from payments it received during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.

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JAN 27, 2021 – Cyber, charter schooling may cost Jersey Shore School District $3.2M this year

 If the number of students from the Jersey Shore Area School District attending cyber/charter schools holds at about 200 for the rest of the school year, the district will spend $3.2 million for their education, according to figures compiled by Dr. Brian Ulmer, superintendent.

Ulmer’s data showed that figure compares to the $628,000 that will be spent to educate approximately the same amount of students in the district’s cyber program, JSOL.

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JAN 26, 2021 – $11.2 million repayment from Epic Charter Schools to state is delayed; public records lawsuit stalls

Epic Charter Schools’ deadline for repaying the state $11.2 million has been pushed back a month, and the State Auditor’s Office has reportedly identified additional administrative payroll cost violations, the Tulsa World has learned.

Meanwhile, the State Auditor and Inspector’s lawsuit in pursuit of public records to account for Epic’s previous use of another $79 million in taxpayer dollars for something Epic calls its “Learning Fund” appears to have stalled.

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JAN 21, 2021 – Commentary: The steep price of charter schools

We’ve all heard how overly complex accounting systems at the Pentagon led to $400 hammers and $7,000 coffee makers. Well, Texas has something akin to that: charter schools.

Under the current charter school funding scheme in Texas, charter schools receive on average $1,150 more per student compared with the traditional school district in which the charter school is located. That’s right: The state pays charter schools more to do the same job as your local school district.

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JAN 20, 2021 – Charter schools receive taxpayer dollars. Should their board members follow state ethics laws?

The Mississippi Ethics Commission says charter school board members are subject to state ethics laws, which prohibit conflicts of interest that could lead to the misspending of public dollars.

But several operators and advocates of Mississippi charter schools, which receive taxpayer funding, say they should be exempt from those laws.

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JAN 20, 2021 – Charter schools grow, but fall short of diversity targets set by Legislature

As its enrollment has grown over the past decade, charter schools have faced increased criticism over their lack of diversity. A 2018 analysis by the Current found that charter schools, especially top-ranked ones, were whiter and more affluent than their nearby district schools and the state as a whole.

The newest data, which was presented to the Charter School Board on Friday, shows that still holds true today, but incremental gains have been made over the past three years.

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JAN 20, 2021 – Orlando charter school principal accused of failing to report abuse

The principal of Orlando Science Charter School was arrested Tuesday on two counts of failing to report child abuse.

Investigators said Abdulaziz Yalcin, 35, sent text messages and emails saying he did not want police to be notified of allegations that a school employee, Jaelen Alexander, had sent inappropriate pictures to students and offered at least one of them $50 to take inappropriate pictures of himself.

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JAN 18, 2021 – KIPP educators call for removal of executive director

A group of educators at KIPP Memphis charter school network want to replace their executive director, citing a lack of transparency in personnel decisions, low teacher retention, and unexpected school closures. 

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JAN 17, 2021 – Yes, some charter schools do pick their students. It’s not a myth.

Post columnist Jay Mathews recently published a piece he titled, “Can charter schools pick the best students? No, but many believe the myth.” Matthews is wrong. Charters’ cherry-picking of students is reality, not myth — as his own article demonstrates. And this cherry-picking can take many forms.

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JAN 14, 2021 – Public school with ties to polygamous sect under investigation by Charter School Board

The Utah State Charter School Board has confirmed it will investigate the spending and lack of diversity at a public charter school in West Valley City.

FOX 13 was the first to report Vanguard Academy, which has ties to the polygamous Kingston group, had only enrolled one non-white student in the past five years. 

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JAN 12, 2021 – BASD does not intend to renew HOPE charter

The Bedford Area School District does not intend to renew its charter with the HOPE for Hyndman Charter School but officials will continue discussions with the charter school’s leadership.

The school board during its meeting Monday night voted not to renew the five-year contract, which expires June 30, with the charter school, citing the school’s failure to meet academic goals outlined in the current agreement.

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JAN 10, 2021 – NEPA educators question cyber charter spending of pandemic relief money on gift cards, cellphones

Pennsylvania’s cyber charter schools used federal COVID-19 relief funds to purchase technology and cleaning supplies and send Target gift cards and phones to families.

Many of the expenditures, revealed through Right to Know Law requests by The Sunday Times, have traditional public school educators questioning why cyber charter schools require the funding when their students already learn from home.

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JAN 07, 2021 – Schuylkill County School District Business Managers Speak Out on Charter School Funding

Recently the United States Department of Education awarded a five-year $30 million grant to Pennsylvania Brick and Mortar Charter Schools to increase their academic success. All the while, many Pennsylvania Public Schools are cutting programs in order to continue to pay for charter school costs, some even becoming financially distressed due to this burden.

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JAN 08, 2021 – State Board of Education unanimously revokes struggling Rowan County school’s charter

A tardy audit submission in late December couldn’t save Essie Mae Kiser Foxx Charter School. 

The State Board of Education on Thursday unanimously voted to revoke the Rowan County school’s charter because its leaders failed to submit required financial audits for 2019 and 2020 on time. 

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JAN 08, 2021 – As cyber charter school costs soar, state fails to conduct required audits

Pennsylvania cyber charter schools could receive more than $1 billion in taxpayer money this year with little oversight as the state fails to conduct required financial audits, a Sunday Times investigation found.

Meanwhile, the 14 cyber schools spent at least $12.7 million on advertising and marketing last year — with some schools spending nearly $1,000 per student to convince others to enroll.

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JAN 04, 2021 – Reform PA cyber charter authorization, funding

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, there has been a huge increase in cyber charter school enrollment across the country, including in Pennsylvania, where cyber charter school enrollment is up by 63% to 62,000 students as of Oct. 1. 

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