Corrupt Charter Scam

Sacramento School shutdown leaves students, teachers scrambling-Another Corrupt Charter Scam

7:36 PM, Sep 2, 2011  |   comments
http://www.news10.net/news/local/article/153000/2/School-shutdown-leaves-students-teachers-scrambling
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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, kmassie@news10.net
News10/KXTV

One Response to Corrupt Charter Scam

  1. Paul Preston says:

    Paul Preston said…
    You stated: “The letter said the school had not paid teachers, several vendors and had missed payments to the California State Teachers Retirement System..”
    CCCTEC responded to the allegations in a letter to the State Board July 22, 2011.
    All STRS payments will be made whole when CCCTEC goes through its final closure. All bounced checks have been paid.

    You Stated: ” But teacher Kathryn Schroeder-Kelly said when school ended last spring only about 66 students were enrolled” At the end of the school year CCCTEC’s enrollment was 105 students in grades 9-10. CCCTEC served 157 students over the 2010-2011 school year. For the opening of the 2011-2012 school year CCCTEC had enrolled over 200 students in grades 9-11.

    You Stated: “and the $750,000 grant”.
    The amount of the grant award was actually greater at $1 million. The grant was divided into thirds with payments made over three years. For the 2010-2011 the amount granted to CCCTEC was $338,000. The money was used for staff salaries and supplies.

    There was another “start up” grant called the Public Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP) that CCCTEC was granted on December 28, 2011 in the amount of $575,000. Originally this money was expected to arrive at CCCTEC by October 2010.
    The first amount of money $255,000 was delayed to CCCTEC until mid February 2011 with another $49,000 coming in April 2011. (The state as it is doing with all start-up charter schools is still holding onto the remaining $271,000). This delay caused severe cash flow issues for CCCTEC. CCCTEC is not the only new charter to suffer these types of delays in cash flow from the state. In the Sac Bee this last June this editorial appeared http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/14/3698057/progress-on-charter-schools-is.html
    This is just one of the quotes from the articles:
    “Add to this uncertainty a painfully slow state bureaucracy, which has been trickling out funds at a snail’s pace. State funds to reimburse charter schools for lease costs in low-income areas have gone to only 40 of 300 schools. And while the state last summer celebrated getting $300 million in federal charter school startup grant funds, the state has doled out money to only 20 schools, down from the usual 55 to 65 a year. Charter schools have complained bitterly, to no avail.”

    To further follow-up on this article in 2009-2010 school year 104 new charter schools were funded from the PCSGP. In the 2010-2011 school year that number was 30. In 2011-2012 the number of Charter Schools funded by the state of California from the PCSGP maybe “0”. The state is out of money for education and will hold onto the federal dollars. I stated to the State School Board in September 2011 that the lack of these funds to new and start-up Charter Schools will put all new and start-up charter schools at risk of closure for lack of funds. That number of Charter Schools at risk of closure is estimated at 93 schools.

    In another article from the Sac Bee this last August 2011
    “California loses $11.5 million in federal funding for charter schools”
    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/08/19/3847664/california-loses-115-million-in.html#ixzz1VTZrFqpy
    State CDE Charter Schools staff failed to report this to the State Board until this article appeared in the Sac Bee even though CDE staff were aware of the non compliance issues for over a year. The actual loss to the Charter Schools Grant Program (PCSGP) hence to new start up charter schools is $20 million at this time with the remaining $280 million at risk since the compliance issues have not been addressed by CDE staff.
    This is the same staff who filed the complaints against CCCTEC.

    Please feel free to contact me at 530 632-9786 or e-mail me at paul@ctecdreams.org for further information.

    Thank you

    Paul Preston
    CCCTEC
    Executive Director
    Superintendent

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