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Closed Columbus Charter Schools Owe Combined $62,211
Columbus – Two closed Columbus charter schools owe a combined $62,211 after reviews by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) found they submitted inaccurate student data to the state, according to audits released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
The Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Boys and Talented Tenth Leadership Academy for Girls opened in July 2013 and received state funding each month until the schools’ sponsor suspended operations on Oct. 18, 2013.
During that time, the schools each received $40,000 in foundation payments from ODE. However, an ODE review of student data determined the boys school was ineligible to receive any funding because it failed to enroll a state-required minimum of 25 students by Sept. 30, 2013. As a result, the boys school was not considered open for operation under state law. The school repaid $269 to ODE but used the remaining state funds to liquidate its operating expenditures.
A similar review found the girls school was only entitled to $9,647 – $30,353 less than it received from the state. The school returned $373 to ODE in March of 2014.
Of the foundation payments, a combined $7,500 sent to the academies on Oct. 15, 2013 was deposited into the personal bank account of the schools’ director Andre Tucker. He was unable to provide supporting documentation to show how the money was spent.
Tucker was found guilty of two counts of theft on Oct. 23, 2015 and ordered to repay $7,500 to ODE. A finding for recovery also was issued against Tucker in the Community School Sponsorships special audit report released on Sept. 3, 2015.
“Ohio has many examples of well-run charter schools – these schools were not among them,” Auditor Yost said. “Those responsible need to be held accountable for every tax dollar wasted.”
Findings for recovery in the amounts of $38,549 and $23,662 were issued against the boys school and girls school, respectively.
Full copies of these reports are available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.
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