Sacramento School shutdown leaves students, teachers scrambling-Another Corrupt Charter Scam
7:36 PM, Sep 2, 2011 | comments
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WEST SACRAMENTO, CA – The California College, Career and Technical Education Center has shutdown in West Sacramento leaving teachers and students and staff scrambling to find somewhere else to go.
Some parents apparently found out about the charter school’s unexpected closure when they arrived for an orientation meeting Thursday and found the school’s doors locked.
Kirsten Malork showed up Friday to find out what was going on.
“I’ve heard the news, I just want to see for myself,” Malork said. “My son Brandon Perry was going to be enrolled in the school. I was thinking okay, great. He’s going to have a sense of direction. This school looked really good. It looked promising.”
When CCCTec opened last fall, every student was provided with an IPad.
Owner and school superintendent Paul Preston said the school was designed for students who had struggled at other schools. They would be able to get enough credits to graduate, as well as, learn vocational skills, such as, auto repair, woodworking and graphic design.
Preston said the school had space for 200 students. But teacher Kathryn Schroeder-Kelly said when school ended last spring only about 66 students were enrolled.
Fewer students severely reduced the amount of per pupil fundingthe school received from the state.
Schroeder-Kelly said the school’s money problems became apparent to teachers in February.
“My paycheck bounced,” Schroeder-Kelly said. “That’s when I thought, well, this is weird. But I got a cashier’s check and everything was fine.”
Then two months later Schroeder-Kelly said Preston informed teachers their checks would be late.
“Eventually our checks were issued,” Schroeder-Kelly said. ”Some went through but some of them bounced.”
A letter sent from the State Board of Education to the school last June said, “CCCTec appears to have failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles, or engaged in fiscal mismanagement.”
The letter said the school had not paid teachers, several vendors and had missed payments to the California State TeachersRetirement System.
Attempts to contact Preston fell short because the school’s phone number rang to a busy.
Preston posted an apology notice on the school’s door blaming “budgetary confines and a lack of funding” for CCCTec’s financialwoes.
The school’s Facebook page talked about a $750,000 grant it had received. The California Department of Education is demanding that $57,000 be returned.
Malork said she knows the school received even more money from the state.
“What happened to the money?” Malork said. ”It should have benefited the kids around here that now have no where to go.”
Another notice on the school’s door referred students to other schools in West Sacramento.
Schroeder-Kelly is looking for another job and said she hopes her students land in someone else’s class.
“Believe in yourselves,” Schroeder-Kelly said. “Continue working and make sure you get in school and keep your eye on the prize.”
By Karen Massie, firstname.lastname@example.org