September 2020

SEP 30, 2020 – Lawyer: Teachers at James Singleton Charter settle testing irregularities lawsuit

A lawyer representing teachers at James Singleton Charter School in a testing irregularities lawsuit announced Wednesday that they have settled with the school.

According to Attorney Willie Zanders, on Monday U. S. District Court Judge Wendy Vitter signed an order stating that three former employees accused of “testing irregularities” at James Singleton Charter School had settled their federal lawsuit against the school.

Read more…

SEP 28, 2020 – Buffalo School Board says charter schools saturating district

The Buffalo Board of Education says it does not support any new charter schools.

The school board believes they are currently over saturating the city school district. But one education advocate is fighting to open a new charter school.

The Buffalo School Board unanimously approved a resolution September 16. It calls on the New York State Board of Regents not to approve four new charter school applications.

Read more…

SEP 24, 2020 – New charter school’s principal resigns less than one month after it opens

In a Facebook post last week, Courtney Paschal Purnell, the former principal of Independence Classical Academy, said the “school should be 100% about the success of our children and the betterment of our community.”

Director Sandy Krischke, according to Purnell, “willfully committed academic stolen valor” and “misrepresented” her certifications and character. 

Read more…

SEP 23, 2020 – Second charter school executive sentenced in $2.5M enrollment scheme

Joann Vega and two other executives at the now-closed Discovery Creemos Academy charter school knew they were in financial trouble during the 2016-17 academic year.

Enrollment was falling at the K-8 Goodyear charter school, and there were concerns about keeping teachers employed and classrooms open for students.

Read more…

SEP 22, 2020 – Let The Charter School Lies Begin

As part of their antisemitic campaign against LAUSD Board Member Scott Schmerelson, the charter school industry pushed a narrative that he had “tripled his own pay.” As pointed out during the primary, this was a complete lie advanced by the California Charter School Association (CCSA). While school board members did receive a massive increase from $45,637 to $125,000 per year, they had nothing to do with the raise.

Read more…

SEP 21, 2020 – Former charter school teacher fired after declining to stop wearing Black Lives Matter mask

Lillian White said she never fathomed wearing a Black Lives Matter mask would cause such an uproar and lead to her termination from Great Hearts Western Hills just about a week before students were set to return to class.

“It was really stressful because I have a financial obligation to help support my family,” White said. “It’s also kind of heartbreaking that this is the kind of – this is the reason that I lost my job.”

Read more…

SEP 20, 2020 – Editorial: Remember charter school reform? It’s more important than ever

Before March and the public education turmoil caused by the coronavirus, the call for charter school funding reform was being echoed loudly in local school board meetings throughout the region at the start of 2020.

Several local boards considered and adopted a resolution circulated by the Pennsylvania School Boards Association supporting a charter reform proposal put forth by Gov. Tom Wolf. 

Read more…

SEP 19, 2020 – Your View: Should taxpayers finance cyber charter schools if districts can offer distance learning at a lower cost?

The majority of educators and student seem to agree that in-person instruction is superior to cyber schooling. Yet for more than two decades Pennsylvania taxpayers have paid the same tuition rate for cyber charter schools as for brick and mortar cyber schools.

Read more…

SEP 17, 2020 -Woodland District 50 sues to close Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake

Gurnee-based Woodland School District 50 filed a lawsuit this week seeking the closure of Prairie Crossing Charter School in Grayslake.

The lawsuit argues that Prairie Crossing has failed to educate at-risk students as required by the state. The litigation also claims that, by taking state funds, the charter school diverts money away from services for low-income and underrepresented students in District 50.

Read more…

SEP 17, 2020 – Former administrator, teacher question charter school over promises to keep students safe from COVID-19

In July, 9NEWS visited the charter school in Aurora which touted a plan to have in-person learning safely. At the time, Principal Linda August said that in addition to strict cleaning protocols, classes above kindergarten would be split up into two groups capped at a maximum of ten people.

Since the 9NEWS visit in July, Principal August has quit along with two assistant principals including Mary Higgins.

Read more…

SEP 17, 2020 – ‘Funds Raised Some Concerns’: OIG Launches Investigation Into Alberto Carvalho’s Nonprofit

The Office of the Inspector General for Miami-Dade County Public Schools has launched an investigation into Superintendent Alberto Carvalho’s nonprofit following a donation from K12, the much-maligned online learning platform axed by the district.

A memo from Inspector General Mary Cagle states her office “will begin a review of the transfer of approximately $1.57 million dollars from K12, a virtual instruction provider, to the Foundation for New Education Initiatives, Inc.”

Read more…

SEP 17, 2020 Unfinished charter school becomes neighborhood eyesore in southeast Harris County

Some neighbors in southeast Harris County said an unfinished charter school building has become an eyesore.

“It just looks horrible for our community,” said neighbor Sylvia Rodriguez.

Construction work on Elite College Prep Academy – Riverstone, on Riverstone Ranch Drive at Kirksage Drive, was never completed. Neighbors said the project has dragged on for years.

Read more…

SEP 18, 2020 – Director leaves North Side Community charter school after tumultuous year

The former executive director of North Side Community School could receive nearly $300,000 in public funding from the school even as he develops another charter school in south St. Louis.

Chester Asher signed a three-year contract with North Side in 2019 with an annual salary of $160,000. One year into his term, the charter school agreed to part ways with Asher, who stepped down to “fully commit his energy and talents for social justice,” according to a letter sent to school families.

Read more…

SEP 16, 2020 – Charter school in Fort Myers being shut down

The Lee County School Board is shutting down a charter school in Fort Myers.

The decision was made in an emergency meeting Wednesday. District staff who visited the school reported overflowing trash bins, kids walking around unsupervised, and only two teachers running the whole operation.

Read more…

SEP 14, 2020 – Ex-Arizona charter school principal sentenced in fraud case

The former principal of a Goodyear charter school has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $2.5 million in restitution in a fraud case.

State prosecutors say Harold Cadiz was sentenced for his role in enrolling fake students to obtain funding from the Arizona Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Read more…

SEP 14, 2020 – SEC settles fraud charges with Arizona charter school

An Arizona-based nonprofit charter school agreed to settle Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that it misled investors and its former president agreed to pay a $30,000 penalty and will not participate in future municipal securities offerings.

On Monday, the SEC charged Park View School, a state-funded, nonprofit charter school with misleading investors in a $7.6 million municipal bond offering in April 2016. It also charged Debra Kay Slagle, the school’s then-president.

Read more…

SEP 13, 2020 – Inspire charter school sues parent corporation alleging fraud, millions of missing dollars

Two Inspire-affiliated schools are based in San Diego County — Pacific Coast Academy and Cabrillo Point Academy — which together enrolled about 8,500 students last school year.

In the lawsuit, Granite Mountain Charter School, which is based in San Bernardino County, is alleging that its parent corporation, Inspire District Office — also known as Provenance and formerly known as Inspire Charter Schools — moved $70 million in and out of Granite Mountain’s bank account during the last school year.

Read more…

SEP 11, 2020 – 13 years after indictment, no trial or plea deal for California Charter Academy defendants

On Friday, Sept. 4, 2007, San Bernardino County prosecutors indicted former Hesperia Mayor Tad Honeycutt and California Charter Academy founder Charles Steven Cox on suspicion of misappropriating $5.5 million in state and federal funds.

Thirteen years later, they have never been tried, have not taken a plea deal and their case has never been dismissed.

Read more…

SEP 11, 2020 – Former Great Hearts students, teachers call some school practices racist, sexist and discriminatory

Former students and teachers from Great Hearts Academies have come forward to draw attention to what they call a pattern of racist and sexist practices in the charter school network.

Nyomi Hidson was in sixth grade when she said school administrators told her that wearing her hair naturally was inappropriate.

Read more…

SEP 10, 2020 – Scathing audit finds misspent tax money at Kansas City charter school

A scathing audit of a now-closed Kansas City charter school found tens of thousands of dollars were improperly spent on food, sports tickets and bonuses.

A report by Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway’s Office gave Pathway Academy Charter School its lowest possible rating of poor.

Read more…

SEP 09, 2020 – Do cyber charter schools really need millions in pandemic relief funding? | Opinion

It’s time we shine a light on a critically important issue and start asking some questions. As Pennsylvania’s school districts face revenue shortfalls of $1 billion or more due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania’s charter schools stand to see a windfall of pandemic relief funding while experiencing no loss of revenue.

Read more…

SEP 09, 2020 – Charter schools to get 100% of funds as public schools face cuts, say education advocates

New York’s public school districts must fully fund charter schools in the upcoming school year, according to a nonprofit public education advocacy organization.

The Alliance for Quality Education, based in Albany, says that even as public schools face 20% cuts in state aid, they must pay 100% of tuition for charters. Charter schools enroll 6% of students statewide.

Read more…

SEP 09, 2020 – Cyber charters may benefit from pandemic, but that doesn’t mean their students do | Editorial

It’s too early for the Pennsylvania Department of Education to have official tallies of cyber enrollment for this school session, but many districts have seen increases in interest in cyber charters. The School District of Philadelphia says cyber enrollment could be up by 18%, which could mean 1,200 more students.

Read more…

SEP 08, 2020 – Easton charter school loses its 4th principal at the start of its 4th year

Easton’s charter school principal has resigned, according to an email sent to the school parents.

The email sent Tuesday from Easton Arts Academy Elementary Charter School’s CEO doesn’t say why William Wright left just as school started this year. CEO Chadwick Antonio confirmed Wright’s departure.

Read more…

SEP 07, 2020 – Board member censured, removed from audit committee for going rogue in state auditor’s court battle with Epic

Board member Mathew Hamrick was the target of the formal statement of disapproval by three of his fellow board members of the small state agency that sponsors six online public schools open to any student statewide, including Epic One-on-One.

Read more…

SEP 04, 2020 – Ross Valley OKs violation notice against charter school

Ross Valley School District is giving Ross Valley Charter school 30 days to fix a list of alleged violations or face denial of the charter’s renewal petition.

The district’s board of trustees voted 5-0 on Wednesday to send the charter a 13-page notice of violation, with more than 100 pages of attachments and exhibits.

Read more…

SEP 01, 2020 – A Philly school flunked students during the pandemic, then charged for summer school

Unlike Philadelphia’s public school system, New Foundations Charter decided to treat the end of the last school year as it would any other semester. Students received grades for their work, and suffered the standard consequences if they didn’t do that work well. Marcus fell into the latter category.

Read more…

SEP 01, 2020 – Ross Valley schools lawyer: Charter wrongly obtained virus aid

A lawyer for the Ross Valley School District is accusing the Ross Valley Charter school of misconduct in its application for a $270,000 federal coronavirus Paycheck Protection Program loan.

“It is clear that RVC’s PPP loan was not obtained through the proper and required approval process, nor for the stated purposes of the PPP funding,” states a letter written by the attorney.

Read more…