July 2021

JUL 27, 2021 – Hernando School board working to save “BEST” charter school

Parents send their children to the BEST Academy in Hernando County for the middle school years (grades 6, 7 and 8) because of the small classes, focus on STEM and the family environment.

But since former Principal Andre Buford fell ill and the charter school’s board had to take over, the school is in a financial struggle, according to a recent review. The contract is up in the 2022-2023 school year.

An annual review, reported to the board during the July 20 school board workshop, found some “alarming things,” including “repeat offenses” from prior years, according to Lisa Cropley, the school district’s executive director of student support services.

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JUL 23, 2021 – The rise and fall of the country’s fifth charter school

It was once called a “beat the odds” school. It achieved higher math scores than any other school with such a high percentage of students in poverty in the Twin Cities. It represented the promise of charter schools to provide high-quality education to students of color.

But in less than a decade, proficiency in reading and math plummeted, school directors came and left with alarming regularity, and eventually the organization overseeing the school decided the best way to fix it was to shut it down.

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JUL 20, 2021 – Teachers and Staff at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School Call for Removal of CEO

Teachers and staff at Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School, a top-tier school serving D.C.’s adult immigrant population, have recently pressed their board of trustees to remove the school’s CEO, Allison Kokkoros.

In a letter sent to the board earlier this month, unnamed employees writing collectively under the banner of “CR Strong” said that under Kokkoros’ leadership, “school growth and innovation has stalled. The culture is steeped in toxicity and pain.”

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JUL 17, 2021 – Don’t Let the Rhetoric Fool You—Understand How Charter Schools Often Aren’t Public

He would be suspended, multiple times in a week, over and over,” an attorney who represents charter school students in Boston said of his client, a six-year-old with ADHD. The student’s school, while not directly rejecting his enrollment because of his mental health disorder, made it difficult for him to attend classes. 

This is a trend that we found in charter schools across the country: Although they rarely decline to accept a student, they can, and sometimes do, use a variety of means—such as suspensions, application hurdles, and minimum GPAs—to limit access to their classrooms.   

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JUL 14, 2021 – Forensic audit sheds light on allegedly phony background checks by former school official

A forensic investigation into suspicious employee background checks by the Dryades YMCA, which runs James M. Singleton Charter School, specifically names the organization’s former CFO and outlines the process — including an apparent template for producing fake background checks — allegedly used to craft fraudulent background checks.

Former CFO Catrina Reed left the embattled organization in March along with its CEO, amid investigations by the NOLA Public Schools district and the New Orleans Police Department into how Singleton administrators were conducting employee background checks, which are required for school employees under state law. 

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JUL 13, 2021 – State officials: Charter school’s ‘grossly inadequate’ financial practices may be illegal and unethical

An embattled Ammon charter school may have intentionally misused public funds, and its former director may have violated several principles of the Code of Ethics for Public Educators, according to a new report from the Idaho Public Charter School Commission.

The 11-page report, dated July 2 and obtained by Idaho EdNews through a public records request, details a range of issues uncovered during the commission’s months-long investigation of Monticello Montessori Charter School

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JUL 12, 2021 – Indiana suing virtual charter schools accused of defrauding the state for more than $150M

A consortium of virtual schools accused of defrauding the state of Indiana out of millions of dollars are now being sued, as state officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by the schools. 

Attorney General Todd Rokita filed the lawsuit against Indiana Virtual School, Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, Indiana Virtual Educational Foundation and several other related entities and individuals in Hamilton County Superior Court Thursday.

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JUL 07, 2021 – Deposed Lusher principal accused school’s CEO of undermining efforts to heal racial tensions

Seven months before Steven Corbett got a job overseeing Audubon Charter Schools, the former high school principal at Lusher Charter School penned a detailed letter to Lusher’s board of directors asking for an investigation into allegedly discriminatory and retaliatory behavior on the part of longtime CEO Kathy Riedlinger.

The grievance letter was obtained by The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Advocate just days before 175 parents sent a petition to the school, decrying “racism within our school community in matters symbolic, structural and every day,” asking for a name change, recruitment of more faculty of color and for transparency, saying Lusher “silences voices of dissent.”

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JUL 06, 2021 – Governor McKee, Providence Mayor Elorza clash over location of Achievement First charter

Mayor Jorge Elorza went on the offensive Wednesday, accusing the governor of caving in to the Providence Teachers Union during contract negotiations.  

Gov. Dan McKee said Tuesday that he didn’t agree with Elorza’s decision to sign a one-year agreement allowing Achievement First to put a new charter school in Fortes Elementary School.

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JUL 05, 2021 – Changes expected for state public charter school law

Last week, the S.C. Legislative Audit Council issued a 92-page audit of the S.C. Public Charter School District, which oversees 33 charter schools.  The audit called for multiple accountability and operations changes. The state’s other authorizer of charter schools, The Charter Institute at Erskine, sponsors 26 charter schools.

State Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, added that he’s heard criticisms of the Public Charter School District (SCPCD) for years.  

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JUL 01, 2021 – Former Gate City Charter Academy teacher sentenced to prison for distributing child pornography

A former Gate City Charter Academy teacher from Greensboro was sentenced to 188 months in prison on Thursday for distributing child pornography in 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release. 

Christian Dean Hall, 35, was indicted in October on one count of distribution and attempted distribution of child pornography and one count of possession of images containing child pornography. In December, he pleaded guilty to an additional count of distribution of child pornography, the DOJ said. 

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