The State Board of Education received notice this week that Path Academy, a Windham school run by a charter management organization, will voluntarily surrender its charter. Earlier this spring an investigation by the State Department of Education uncovered troubling practices at the school, including defrauding the state of nearly $1.6 million, billing the state for 128 phantom students, operating unauthorized schools, and tolerating excessive absenteeism.
CEA President Sheila Cohen issued a statement saying, “Path Academy’s voluntary surrender of its charter to operate a charter school in Connecticut is the beginning, not the end of what is needed to ensure that charter schools are held to the same standards as traditional public schools and are forced to operate with public accountability, oversight, and transparency. Read more
The deeply troubled Path Academy has been given a week to propose a solution to the multitude of problems plaguing the charter school and its operators, according to yesterday’s decision by the State Board of Education.
Path Academy charter school in Windham faces revocation of its charter unless it can solve problems including chronic student absenteeism and the misuse of millions of public dollars.
The State Board of Education says Path Academy overbilled state taxpayers by nearly $2 million, opened two satellite campuses without approval, and 100 percent of its students are classified as chronically absent.
Path Academy gained access to public education dollars because of its mission to help students with challenging life circumstances. Unfortunately, the school failed both its students and the state.
“This was a breach of public trust and a failure to meet the most basic fiduciary duties that all public schools have: to spend education dollars on their intended purposes and to the benefit of students,” said CEA’s Orlando Rodriguez, testifying at yesterday’s hearing. “This board cannot overlook the egregious lack of accountability at Path Academy by both its administrative staff and board of governance. As for the students at Path Academy, every effort should be made to provide them resources to graduate on time.” Read more
CEA’s Orlando Rodriguez raised concerns about the contract between Stamford Academy and its CMO at yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting.
CEA has repeatedly drawn attention to the lack of financial accountability and oversight for charter management organizations (CMOs) in Connecticut. Despite concerns raised by CEA at yesterday’s State Board of Education meeting about the exceedingly high rates of chronic absenteeism at Stamford Academy and the questionable fees charged by its CMO, the board went ahead with a renewal of the contract between the charter and its CMO, Domus Kids, Inc.
This is the not the first Connecticut charter school run by a CMO to face concerns over its operating procedures. Just last month, the State Board of Education began the revocation process for Path Academy Charter in Windham after the State Department of Education uncovered shocking practices at the school that include defrauding the state of nearly $1.6 million, billing the state for 128 phantom students, operating unauthorized schools, and tolerating excessive absenteeism. Read more
The State Board of Education today voted unanimously to begin the revocation process for Path Academy Charter, a Windham school run by a charter management organization. An investigation by the State Department of Education has uncovered practices at the school that include defrauding the state of nearly $1.6 million, billing the state for 128 phantom students, operating unauthorized schools, and tolerating excessive absenteeism.
The revocation process is underway, but will not be finalized until a later vote of the state board, which is scheduled to again take up the matter at a meeting June 19.
“The state cannot allow these shocking practices to continue. Our children and their education—as well as state dollars—require protection from fraud and fiscal abuse,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. “It is unacceptable when charter schools are not held to the same standards as traditional public schools, or are given free reign over public dollars with no public oversight.”
Cohen added, “The legislature must pass stronger laws that govern charter school management companies to ensure that they follow the law, and not defraud the public.”
Read more about today’s vote.
A State of Connecticut internal audit of the State Department of Education (SDOE) released today, found that there are no safeguards in place to ensure that charter school management organizations are using state dollars properly.
The auditors’ report examined the financial records of the SDOE and called for 40 recommendations, including the need to develop new policies to detect whether charter management organizations are using state funds inappropriately, extravagantly, or if they are charging excessive fees.
“Based on the evidence uncovered by state auditors and other researchers, legislators need to take action to put an end to excessive profiteering by prohibiting management fees and demanding that any Connecticut taxpayer dollars given to charter schools stay in the schools and not end up in the hands of millionaires and corporate reformers,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen. Read more
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg told the Legislature’s Education Committee that charter management organizations must be subject to transparency and accountability.
CEA Executive Director Mark Waxenberg testified before the Education Committee today in favor of a bill that expands accountability and transparency for charter management organizations (CMOs) that run some of Connecticut’s publicly funded schools.
“Every dollar for public education is precious, and we need this legislation to ensure that every dollar spent by charter management organizations is spent on supporting students in those classrooms,” Waxenberg said. Read more
Using millions of Connecticut taxpayer dollars meant to educate children, charter management organizations (CMOs) are lining their own pockets. According to a shocking new report detailing the financial data of Connecticut charter schools, some CMOs are profiting from state taxpayer dollars allocated for students, with little or no oversight or transparency as to how the money is being used.
“These CMOs are shaking down the State of Connecticut,” said CEA President Sheila Cohen, “and using money earmarked for our students to line their own pockets—profiting off the backs of our children and state taxpayers. Our schools and teachers are always working hard to do what’s best for students, but these CMOs are doing anything but.” Read more