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.