July 2019

JUL 30, 2019 – A recently closed charter school leaves unpaid debts and unanswered questions in its wake

The recent closure of the American International School of Utah— a public-private hybrid charter — has displaced more than 1,300 students and left potentially millions of dollars in unpaid debts, including hundreds of thousands of allegedly misspent special education dollars owed to, but unlikely to be repaid to, the state of Utah.

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JUL 30, 2019 – Coghill Charter School board member resigns amid scrutiny

The board of Mary D. Coghill Charter School accepted the resignation of board member Eric Jones at its Tuesday meeting, after scrutiny over reimbursements he received and a directive he issued to teachers not to issue F’s.

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JUL 26, 2019 – Coghill Charter parents concerned after success program causes enrollment problems

 In a plea deal with prosecutors, an author and former Oakland charter school director was sentenced to one year of federal probation for a charge of falsifying grant applications for his school.

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JUL 25, 2019 – Founder of now-shuttered charter school was charming, played loosely with rules

As the American International School of Utah (AISU) was preparing to open its doors, there was a quiet revolt going on inside the school’s board room. Sources tell Beyond the Books, that before the doors opened all but one of the original AISU board members had resigned, in part because of the school’s founder and executive director, Mike Farley.

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JUL 25, 2019 – Charter school violated enrollment rules, APS says

An Albuquerque Public Schools-authorized charter school was investigated by district officials after it gave preferential treatment to some students on its wait list.

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JUL 23, 2019 – Parents and students question two Indiana virtual schools following closure emails

There’s confusion over the future of two Indiana online charter schools after a teacher sent an email advising students to stop sending in assignments.

One mom reached out to FOX59 for help, because she now feels left in the dark. “How do you just suddenly close like that?” asked the concerned mother, who wants to stay anonymous due to the developing situation.

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JUL 22, 2019 – Utah auditor resigns from leading troubled charter school — after 3 days on the job

Less than one week after being appointed to oversee the closure of a financially troubled charter school and recover hundreds of thousands in misspent funds there, Utah State Auditor John Dougall has resigned from the position.

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JUL 22, 2019 – Troubled Cape Coral charter school to open in August with a new name

Unity Charter, the school that closed its door on students in the middle of the school year and was in deep financial trouble, has a new name.

Off busy Santa Barbara Blvd. in Cape Coral, a once troubled charter school, Unity Charter, now is called Heritage Charter Academy of Cape Coral.

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JUL 18, 2019 – New Beginnings to surrender its school charters amid ‘incredibly disturbing’ management problems

After allegations of grade-fixing and a major fiasco involving class credits that left dozens of students unable to graduate, the public charter board overseeing John F. Kennedy High School voted Thursday night to surrender its charters to operate both of its schools.

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JUL 19, 2019 – Governor requests audit of epic charter schools

In a letter sent to State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd, Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt Friday requested her office conduct an audit of “Epic Charter School and all related entities.”

The letter goes on to state that “The scope of the audit should include a three year look back on all previously issued audits, as well as any federal audits done during that same period.”

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JUL 18, 2019 – Former teacher speaks out amid Lincoln Memorial Academy controversy

A former teacher at Lincoln Memorial Academy is speaking out, claiming the school owes her thousands of dollars of unpaid salary. This comes as more controversy surrounds the financially troubled charter school in Manatee County.

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JUL 18, 2019 – Odyssey Charter placed on probation by Delaware Board of Education; board change mandated

If it wishes to remain open, Odyssey Charter School must change its board so that members of a Greek-American fraternal group no longer hold a majority of seats. 

The Thursday night ruling from Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and the State Board of Education is the culmination of nearly a year of complaints from parents, teachers and community members and brings the state’s Formal Review of the school to a close. 

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JUL 17, 2019 – Charter School Case Exposes Big Loopholes in How the State Funds Schools

Last month, an explosive indictment filed in San Diego alleged a charter school scam that was both lucrative and audacious: Two men, along with a handful of close employees, managed to siphon $80 million of public education funds into “consulting” companies they controlled.

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JUL 17, 2019 – Law enforcement seizes records of closed L.A. charter school

Federal law enforcement agents have seized records from the home of the former director of Community Preparatory Academy, a Los Angeles charter school that recently closed amid allegations of fiscal mismanagement.

The raid was carried out Tuesday morning by several agencies working in conjunction, including the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal Service and the U.S. Secret Service with assistance from the FBI.

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JUL 16, 2019 – State auditor named interim director of shuttered Utah charter school

Utah State Auditor John Dougall was appointed interim director of the now-shuttered American International School of Utah Tuesday.

The Utah State Charter School Board, after meeting in closed session for more than two hours, voted unanimously to remove AISU Executive Director Tasi Young and appoint the Utah State Auditor’s Office to see through the closure of the public charter school.

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JUL 17, 2019 – OSBI warrant: ‘Ghost students’ at Epic

A state investigation alleges Epic Charter Schools, the state’s largest virtual charter school system, embezzled millions in state funds by illegally inflating enrollment counts with “ghost students.”

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JUL 15, 2019 – Authorities Investigating Possible Violations Of State Laws By Former Charter School Director

Authorities are investigating retired Blackfoot charter school administrator Fred Ball, at the behest of the county prosecutor.

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JUL 13, 2019 – Student receives unwelcome report card surprise

The parent of a Savannah Classical Academy sixth-grader said the school failed to promote her child to seventh grade this spring, despite the fact the student passed all of her classes.

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JUL 11, 2019 – State lawmaker questions funding for states largest charter school

Oklahoma state Sen. Ron Sharp is questioning funding the state’s largest charter school has received in the past two years.

This comes after Sharp said Epic Blended Charter School received a total of $63 million in its first two years of operation.

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JUL 12, 2019 – 2 online charter schools inflated enrollments

Indiana education officials want to recover about $40 million in taxpayer money from two online charter schools after an audit found that they improperly received state payments by inflating their student enrollment figures.

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JUL 11, 2019 – WV teachers union says it will sue over charter school bill

A sweeping West Virginia GOP education bill that allows the creation of charter schools violates the state Constitution, according to a teachers union that plans to sue over the legislation.

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JUL 10, 2019 – Costly academic turnaround takes St. Paul charter school from ‘buckets of cash’ to deep in debt

Three years ago, Dugsi Academy was flush with cash but failing academically.

Now, two years into a costly school improvement effort, the St. Paul charter school faces a long list of unpaid bills that may threaten its very existence.

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JUL 09, 2019 – The charter school industry can’t acknowledge its documented failures

News broke recently about what may be the single biggest charter school scam ever in which an online charter school organization is alleged to have bilked the state of California for $80 million by enrolling tens of thousands of students into their programs, often without the students’ knowledge, and charging the state for nonexistent education services and bogus expenses related to operating the schools.

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JUL 09, 2019 – School District wants answers from Lincoln Memorial charter school

In six notices over two weeks, the school district questioned the finances, transparency and leadership at Lincoln Memorial Academy.

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JUL 08, 2019 – FPPC finds three conflicts of interest with former Oasis Charter School Executive Director

The ghost of Juanita Perea’s tenure as executive director of Oasis Charter Public School has come back to haunt her. Now a teacher at Salinas City Elementary School District, Perea’s time at Oasis was plagued with allegations of mismanagement and poor leadership.

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JUL 09, 2019 – When Charter Schools Fail, Parents Are Left Scrambling

There has been no shortage of charter school closures. The most recent implosion was that of Southern California-based A3 Education, which mostly involved online academies. Charter school closures are more than a Los Angeles problem or a California problem. The rate of charter school failures is very high across the nation.

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JUL 08, 2019 – Financial audit questions whether Gary charter school can continue

A top-rated Gary charter school is planning to begin its fourth year of classes next month, despite financial issues identified in a new audit that questions the school’s ability to continue as a going concern.

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JUL 07, 2019 – Chartergate: Austin Beutner’s Transparency Problem

An email thread documenting the unseemly coziness between L.A. schools superintendent Austin Beutner and the California charter school lobby set off political pyrotechnics late last month when the investigative blog — and indefatigable California public records miner — Michael Kohlhaas dot org published a cache of documents revealing the covert relationship in the midst of last year’s contract stalemate with UTLA.

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JUL 08, 2019 – Charter schools bypass racial imbalance laws

The law supports Connecticut’s constitutional prohibition against intentional and incidental racial segregation in public schools. However, when it comes to privately managed, publicly funded charter schools, laws prohibiting racial segregation seem not to apply. SDE’s implementation of the racial imbalance and charter laws subverts legislative language and intent, as well as Connecticut’s educational goals.

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JUL 05, 2019 – Feds give green light to controversial contract between Memphis charter school and Catholic diocese

The U.S. Department of Education said a charter school network’s lease prohibiting it from teaching anything considered “gravely immoral” by the Catholic Church does not violate federal guidelines, state officials wrote in an email obtained by Chalkbeat.

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JUL 05, 2019 – Grand jury indicts two former Alma d’Arte employees

New grand jury indictments have been filed in district court naming two former staff members of Alma d’Arte Charter High School in Las Cruces.

The school’s former business manager, Juliette Rivera, was charged last December with embezzling more than $120,000 across a 14-year period from 2004 to 2018.

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JUL 05, 2019 – Epic obtained personal information of state teachers

In late April, Norman High School teacher Jeremy Davis received a recruitment email from Epic Charter Schools, an online Oklahoma charter school that has earned praise, criticism and scrutiny in recent years during a period of rapid growth.

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JUL 03, 2019 – Why Charter Schools Must Waste Money

Back in March, the Network for Public Education, a public education advocacy group, released a study showing that the Department of Education has spent over a billion dollars on charter school waste and fraud. Education Next, a publication that advocates for charter schools, offered a reply to that report. The rebuttal to the rebuttal just appeared in the Washington Post, but there is one portion of the Education Next piece that deserves a closer look.

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JUL 02, 2019 – Hillsdale College will officially sever ties with Mason Classical Academy in August

Hillsdale College will cut ties with Mason Classical Academy in August after board members missed Hillsdale’s deadline to resign in the wake of a Collier County School District investigation and newly revealed concerns from Hillsdale about the school’s management.

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JUL 02, 2019 – District says Lincoln is violating contract as charter school’s financial woes continue

The school district has accused Lincoln Memorial Academy of failing to comply with document requests and violating its contract as a result. Both issues arose during a joint effort to address financial troubles at the Palmetto-based charter school.

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JUL 01, 2019 – New Orleans becomes first major American city without traditional schools

On a typically hot July 1 in south Louisiana, when many students and educators are enjoying long holiday vacations, New Orleans has quietly become the first major American city without any traditional schools.

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