Who is the Hero of the Year for 2019? It is… Continue reading And The Exceptional Delaware Hero Of The Year For 2019 is…
Just wanted to write a quick post to my followers and readers to wish you a very Merry Christmas. If you celebrate something else, enjoy that day as well! Not sure what 2020 will bring in life and on this blog but I can only hope things change for the better.
Enjoy your family and friends and share the love with everyone you see. This should be all year long but I will settle for the reason for the season.
Sorry I don’t have a crazy Christmas story this year. I’ll try to double up next year!
The Delaware Auditor of Accounts office released the Odyssey Charter School Agreed-Upon Procedures report today. The work was done independently by the Santora CPA Group. The full report can be seen below.
The report shows a good deal of financial expenses that could not be explained by Odyssey Charter School. The AHEPA gala, meant to raise funds for Odyssey, netted over $72,000 in cash donations. The charter school only saw over $52,000 and AHEPA kept the rest. Almost $10,000 in earmarked expenses had no justification or reason for what they were. The Delaware Department of Education asked Odyssey to explain this as part of their formal review. An AHEPA conference in July of 2018 had over $3,800 in unexplained expenses.
The report confirmed the Board President, Dmitri Dandalos, who was also the President of the local AHEPA , unilaterally decided on Chatham Bay continuing construction of the Ithaka Learning Center. This was after a feasibility study determined it was not worth it to open up the early learning center. This cost an additional $154,217. The Board voted to pay this in executive session but it was noted in the report that the resolution to pass it in open session had no explanation of what they were paying. But since Delaware charter schools do not get capital expenses and, therefore, no money from the Bond Bill, it doesn’t really matter in terms of the legality of it all. Except it should. Perhaps our legislators can fix that. Even though it isn’t technically state money, it should still be accounted for.
Some of the expenses listed in the attachment section of the report can be easily explained. One of the vendors of the school, The Schoolhouse 302, does professional development for the school. My biggest question about that is why administrators from other school districts are doing a side company. Those administrators are Joseph Jones, the Superintendent of New Castle County Vo-Tech, and T.J. Vari, a district administrator in Appoquinimink. And if they are doing this professional development during school hours, why are they getting paid for that and their duties as administrators for their respective districts at the same time? But I digress…
This report is riddled with expenses spent by Odyssey but did not agree with the amounts reported. That is a very serious issue. Last night I was viciously attacked by someone on Facebook for daring to write something bad about Odyssey. No, I don’t think the school should be shut down. I don’t have an issue with the education they provide their students. From what I have heard, it is top-notch. My issue is with the organizational end of the school. How the board operates and how they spend taxpayer money is a big issue. And it isn’t just Odyssey. It is many charter schools AND districts in Delaware. Odyssey just happens to be in the hot seat for this right now. So is Christina School District on some levels. My biggest problem is how there is no oversight over these things coming from the state. Why does it take putting a school on formal review before the truth comes out? Is there no one watching things at the granular level before it blows up? Like I said, it’s not just charter schools. It is districts too. Both need to be watched very closely. The charters get caught for it more but districts are doing shady crap too. We all know it. They know it. It’s just a matter of time.
I am glad this report got out before the State Board of Education decided on the school’s charter renewal tomorrow night. If I were the State Board, I would vote to keep Odyssey on probation until their actual renewal at the end of the school year! (special thanks to the friend who explained this could be a viable option!)
Public comment sent to the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education indicates the AHEPA members of the Board of Directors over at Odyssey Charter School STILL haven’t learned the lesson that put them on formal review in the first place!
This prompted Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams to file Freedom of Information Act violations against the Board of Directors not once, but twice!
Sounds like AHEPA has some explaining to do!
Meanwhile, Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness has failed to deliver the audit investigation into Odyssey Charter School. They informed the school it was “anticipated” by December 15th. It is now December 18th and the State Board of Education is making an important decision about this school in two days at their monthly meeting. Once again, missing information. But hey, let’s give McG a big break because I’m sure she is really busy socializing around Delaware for every opportunity she can get to let folks know she is Kathy McGuiness and some useless facts about the Auditor of Accounts office!
My prediction: further probation for Odyssey Charter School until all the facts come out on this stuff!
As reported on Transparent Christina, the Christina School District Board of Education has voted not to renew four contracts in their district office. While I am not at liberty to give names yet, these are four VERY big names. The ripple effects of these non-renewals will affect the district in major ways. I expect there could be some type of legal response to at least one of these non-renewals. The names are out there and people are talking, but I will not be releasing those names “officially” until it is public. Two of them I am very happy about. They have been sources of controversy for years and have done more harm to the district than anyone else. So with Superintendent Richard Gregg announcing his resignation as of June 2020, look for Christina to look very different in the 2020-2021 school year.
And it all falls apart…
Last night, the Christina School District Board held its monthly meeting.
It was a doozy. They accepted a long overdue resignation from their superintendent and then summarily fired four district employees via a contract non-renewal technique all while suffering through Board President Dr. Meredith Griffin’s repeated attempts to muzzle and the actual muzzling of taxpayers (aka his constituents) at a public mic at a public meeting WITHOUT board approval. (more on this in a future post)
He was primarily aided and abetted in the purge by board members Dr. Keeley Powell and Dr. Claire O’Neal mostly by their stark silence, who also happen to work together at the University of Delaware in the same department (UD College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment: here and here) and are the two shortest tenured board members. Dr. Griffin shared a vague sensability regarding cultural change being at the…
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