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Unregulated charter school finances wasting taxpayer money. Rampant fraud, harm to students.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-26-12 09:38 PM
Original message
Unregulated charter school finances wasting taxpayer money. Rampant fraud, harm to students.
Edited on Thu Jul-26-12 09:43 PM by madfloridian
One after the other leaders of charter schools are being investigated, and schools are being closed for financial discrepancies. That is public money, taxpayer money. Who in the world decided no oversight was needed? Makes no sense.

Just a few:

Dorothy June Hairston Brown, Philadelphia Charter School Mogul, Charged With Defrauding $6.5 Million In Tax Dollars

That's probably a record amount of fraud so far.

"Philadelphia charter school mogul Dorothy June Hairston Brown was charged Tuesday -- along with four colleagues -- with defrauding three charter schools of more than $6.5 million in tax dollars.

Brown and her executives were indicted on 62 counts of wire fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. She had earned praise for student test scores and had a reputation for claiming large salaries and filing suits against parents who questioned her, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports."

She also had a role in creating Agora Cyber Charter School, which offers online lessons to students across the state.

"Brown founded three Philadelphia charter schools: the Laboratory, Ad Prima and Planet Abacus. She also had a hand in creating the Agora Cyber Charter School, which offers online lessons to students across the state. Brown was reportedly paid $150,000 for working 30 hours weekly at Laboratory and $115,904 for a single week at Ad Prima.

"Charter schools are funded with public money that is intended to help educate children in our communities," Special Agent in Charge George C. Venizelos of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI said in a statement. "When individuals misappropriate those funds, as this indictment today alleges, they trade our children's education and our children's future for their own illegal profit."

Also this month we learned that FBI agents also raided another school.

Nick Trombetta, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School Founder, Has Office Raided By FBI Agents

"FBI agents on Thursday raided the office of Pennsylvania Charter Cyber School founder Nick Trombetta, who is suspected of misusing Pennsylvania tax dollars to fund his out-of-state ventures, KDKA News reports.

The FBI raided the administrative offices of PA Cyber and other ventures founded by Trombetta, including the Avanti Management Group -- a for-profit consultant firm based in Ohio.

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, founded in 2000, enrolled more than 11,300 students in the 2011-12 academic year and has an annual budget of more than $100 million. Critics say the $10,000 the school receives for each child far exceeds the cost of educating a student online, and that the excess money has gone to other Trombetta ventures such as the National Network of Digital Schools and the Lincoln Interactive, which develops and markets online curriculum.

These ventures have spawned cyber schools nationwide, and a federal investigation is now underway to determine if Trombetta personally profited."

Seems like if the FBI has been stepping in so often it might give Arne Duncan a clue that there are problems with his policies.

Another Pennsylvania virtual charter school was also shut down.

Frontier Virtual High School In Pennsylvania Shuts Down After Failed Years

"Education officials said their investigation of the charter school exposed a litany offenses, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

One Department document read: "Frontier incurred significant expenses and debt that were unrelated to the delivery of services to students of a cyber charter school, including purchases at restaurants, cash withdrawals that were not substantiated with receipts... and local transportation token purchases."

The charter school's decision to shut down was announced by the state secretary of education Ron Tomalis Thursday afternoon, according to CBS Philly."

Let's not leave Florida out of the picture. Several Imagine Charter Schools are being threatened with closing for huge taxpayer debt and very poor grades.

And today another charter school was shut down, leaving the parents in confusion. Many of them sounded angry during interviews on the news tonight. I don't blame them. There's been a lot of manipulation and lying going on.

A.T. Jones Academy officially closed; letter emailed to parents, faculty

"At a board meeting last Thursday, parents accused board members of financial mismanagement that drove the school into more than $100,000 worth of debt.

"It all comes down to not knowing how to balance a checkbook," said parent Dino Scanio.

Parents asked where all the school's money went only to be told all their questions would be addressed in an email sent out Monday. No email was ever sent.

Teachers are also owed money after money was deducted from their paychecks for health insurance even though the board terminated their insurance without telling them."

Billionaire education reformer, Eli Broad, once said of Arne Duncan's appointment that "the stars are aligned."

I think he was probably right. Just not aligned for public school students and teachers and schools whose funding is leaving them and being fraudulently used for corporate profit.

Crossposted at Daily Kos
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-28-12 06:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. I do not understand why Obama has adopted
the Republican approach to education reform. And I do not understand why we are supposed to like it. This is all mysterious to me.
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