A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Some California Charter Schools Play "Stash the Loot"

A chain of charter schools overcharged the state more than $57 million over three years, reimbursed its top executives for expensive SUVs and paid thousands of dollars for employee parties at Disneyland, a state audit released Wednesday found.

Jack O'Connell, superintendent of public instruction, said he will seek to ensure that the state is reimbursed by the for-profit Opportunities for Learning and the nonprofit Options for Youth schools. He has sent the audit to Attorney General Bill Lockyer, who may pursue legal action.

The eight schools and more than 40 independent-study satellite centers serve students who otherwise would quit school or fail, said Kerry Mazzoni, spokeswoman for the schools.

"We deal with the arguably most at-risk students in the state -- students that have dropped out of school," Mazzoni said. "Our program is comparably very good, and we're just really puzzled why they would want to suggest that our program was not good."

Auditors found the charter schools transferred $10.8 million to a corporation run by the daughter of husband-and-wife owners Joan and John Hall. That corporation is not subject to state education laws.

The audit, which covered the 2002-03 to 2004-05 school years, said the charter school companies claimed $57 million more than they were entitled to by incorrectly reporting data that included the number of credentialed teachers, student-teacher ratios and student attendance rates.

Charter schools receive public funding and must follow state laws, but they often use alternative teaching methods.

Hmmm. Hey, Edwonk: How’d you like a shiny SUV to drive back from the Carolina wilds? And NYC Educator! Apparently if you teach at-risk students, the state should provide you with an SUV. All you gotta do is move to California.

Maybe Ahhhnuld will give you one of his Hummers.


At 8/12/06, 1:16 PM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Aw, Ms. Cornelius, don't be so hard on us! We're not ALL like that here in the Golden State--honest!

At 8/12/06, 1:47 PM, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

Hey what about me??? My pickup is not big enough to hold rifles and a gun rack in the back window.

At 8/13/06, 3:48 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I didn't mean to pick on California-- just on charter schools that do not keep their books in order.

And Mike, I figured you already HAD an SUV-- bein' a Texan (by adoption) and all...

Se that's the problem-- God knows there's plenty of waste in regular public schools, but some of those regualtions charters get to dispence with actually leave room for this kind of abuse. My whole point is that the resources are scarce enough as it is, without millio of bucks going poof!

At 8/13/06, 5:28 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Sign me up. I can be there by Friday.

At 8/13/06, 7:48 PM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Aw, shucks, Ms. Cornelius, I know you didn't mean any harm. The incident you cite is actually the second time in the last four years that a charter school organization in this state has mishandled money. The last time this happened, the umbrella organization went out of business, taking down a lot of local affiliates. Parents were scrambling to find a place for their kids to be schooled. It was awful.

At 8/14/06, 5:12 AM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Which is one of the problems with charters. We've had TWO of 'em go down in spectacular flames right before school began (and we don't have that many)-- which completely disrupted the educations of the students and created chaos.

At 8/15/06, 5:09 PM, Blogger Davicker Civwohl said...

Interesting how liberals are so good at telling half truths in all cases. "Some...Charter Schools Play "Stash the Loot'" Come on. It was a "chain" and because there was more than one school involved it looks as though many schools do this. Looking at equivalents, this is the same as a single district cheating the system rather than a bunch of single schools.

At 8/15/06, 9:59 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

Ouch. THAT hurt. Wow. You'd think that tired old claptrap would seem obviously worn out by now. I believe I said "Some schools" WITHOUT the ellipsis.

Just like how, after being the head cheese in Washington for all but eight years since Reagan, the conservatives would realize that those beltway types they kvetch about? It's THEM. And government's gotten nothing but BIGGER. It just serves fewer people. Hypocrites.


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