May 2021

MAY 27, 2021 – CTU educators vote unanimously to strike Urban Prep charter schools

Rank and file CTU members at three Urban Prep charter schools voted unanimously to strike on Thursday night. Members expect to set a strike date in the coming days. The CTU also filed an unfair labor practice charge against management of the charters on Thursday, for a range of abuses, including playing hide the ball with critical financial and other information.

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MAY 27, 2021 – Former charter school executive director indicted for theft, records show

A former Memphis charter school executive has been indicted for theft.

Dr. Tamika Carwell-Richmond is charged with two counts of Theft over $2,500, two counts of Forgery over $2,500, and one count of forgery under $2,500.

Carwell-Richmond is the former Executive Director of the Legacy Leadership Academy charter school in Memphis, Tennessee.

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MAY 27, 2021 – Ulmer: Cyber charter schools are cause of $880K deficit

Rising costs for budget items that the school board has no control over were the main drivers of an $880,000 budget deficit that the Jersey Shore Area School District is facing in the next fiscal year.

“You are spending as a district $15 million in six years to something you have no control over,” said District Superintendent Brian Ulmer as he shared the cost of cyber charter schools over the past six years.

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MAY 25, 2021 – Texas charter network fires leaders after an investigation reveals misuse of school funds as state, authorities step in

Texas’ largest charter school network ousted two of its top leaders and is working with authorities after a forensic review revealed some administrators used school funds for personal use.

The development comes roughly one year after the IDEA Public Schools charter network awarded a $900,000 buyout to its departing chief executive officer and co-founder Tom Torkelson.

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MAY 24, 2021 – Statements show thousands of dollars worth of unexplained purchases at Ammon charter school

From January to December 2020, Monticello Montessori Charter School put nearly $65,000 on two school-owned credit cards, according to statements Idaho EdNews obtained through a public records request. Yet only a handful of those purchases include descriptions of what the school bought.

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MAY 21, 2021 – House leadership moving forward with multicounty grand jury recommendations from Epic Charter Schools investigation

Leadership in the Oklahoma House of Representatives is moving forward with legislation based on the extraordinary and urgent call to action by the multicounty grand jury probing the Epic Charter Schools saga.

House Bill 2966 is scheduled to be introduced on the floor and voted on by the House of Representatives on Monday.

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MAY 18, 2021 – The Failure of Corporate Charter Schools

The charter school movement was a grassroots, up-from-the-bottom school reform beginning in 1992. Milwaukee followed that model of chartering schools. But a decade later, a corporate model began to emerge with providers trying to become the Walmart or Target of the charter school industry. Today those plans look more like a bankrupt Sears, both in Milwaukee and across the nation.

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MAY 18, 2021 – Inside a charter school’s collapse: Records reveal decade of problems

Once lauded for providing an education to children in a historically underserved Somali immigrant community in Minneapolis, one of the oldest charter schools in Minnesota and the nation is now expected to shut down next month.

After plans to abruptly close Cedar Riverside Community School were announced last month, 5 INVESTIGATES reviewed hundreds of pages of reports and complaints revealing its collapse was nearly a decade in the making.

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MAY 14, 2021 – Seven Kansas City charter schools losing sponsorship after UCM ends program

The University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg has partnered with the charter schools for years and is now ending the program, leaving schools scrambling. 

Missouri law actually requires that charter schools have a sponsorship. Now that UCM is dropping its program, the impacted schools will have to link up with another entity. 

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MAY 14, 2021 – Questions arise after man with checkered past hired at Baton Rouge school as substitute teacher

In 2016, Louis Smith Jr. was arrested for allegedly having inappropriate contact with a minor up in East Feliciana Parish.

So, how did that information slip through the cracks at Inspire Charter Academy, which later hired him as a substitute teacher?

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MAY 11, 2021 – I spent a year and a half at a ‘no-excuses’ charter school – this is what I saw

To better understand what happens at charter schools – and as a sociologist who focuses on education – I spent a year and a half at a particular type of urban charter school that takes a “no-excuses” approach toward education. My research was conducted from 2012 through 2013, but these practices are still prevalent in charter schools today.

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MAY 11, 2021 – Utah charter school pushes back on calls for staff training

American Preparatory Academy, the large and politically powerful Utah charter school, appeals calls for its staff to undergo training.

The school, which has half a dozen campuses and 5,000 students, was told to repay nearly $3,000,000 in special education money after it was accused of misspending the taxpayer funds.

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MAY 10, 2021 – At one Nevada charter school, more than 40% of teachers are substitutes

Elementary school students at Mater Academy’s Bonanza campus have a 50-50 chance of having a teacher who is properly licensed as an educator.

For first graders, there is no chance.

That’s because none of the four first grade teachers employed by the school are fully licensed by the state to teach. All four are licensed only as substitute teachers.

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MAY 06, 2021 – Bullis Charter School threatened with closure if it doesn’t fix lack of diversity

Santa Clara County Board of Education trustees are threatening to shut down Bullis Charter School unless it “cures” its diversity problems and better reflects the demographics of the Los Altos School District.

Santa Clara County Board of Education trustees voted Wednesday to send a letter of concern to Bullis Charter School amid worries that it is not enrolling enough students from underrepresented communities, leaving the Los Altos School District with needier kids.

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MAY 06, 2021 – ‘Ripe for fraud’: Multicounty Grand Jury releases interim report on Epic Charter Schools investigation

The multicounty grand jury investigating Epic Charter Schools has released a scathing interim report of its findings following the state’s audit report against the school.

According to the report, “Due to the lack of transparency in accounting for the funds, intentional avoidance of disclosure of information by a private entity, and lack of cooperation; the investigation is unable to be completed at this time.”

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MAY 04, 2021 – Innovations Charter School to cease operations at end of school year

Innovations Charter School in Walla Walla will shut its doors at the end of the school year, the charter school’s board has decided.

At its April 29 meeting, the board cited low enrollment in its decision not to continue operations for a fourth year.

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