Ex Academy Of Dover Chief Noel Rodriguez Pleads Guilty In Theft Of $145,000

What would you do with $145,000?  Apparently, for Noel Rodriguez, it was whatever he wanted to do.  But the money wasn’t his.  Today, the former Principal of Academy of Dover pled guilty in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington according to Cris Barrish with WHYY.

Noel Rodriguez, 56, admitted in U.S. District Court in Wilmington that he stole in a number of ways, including charging personal expenses to four unauthorized school credit cards and a state credit card. He spent the money on electronics, travel, car expenses, gardening and camping equipment, home improvement items and a dog house.

According to the article, the newly christened U.S. Attorney, David Weiss, is in charge of Delaware when it comes to federal matters in court.  Rodriguez got a $250,000 fine and will assuredly be facing jail time at his sentencing, up to ten years.  What I would like to know is if part of that $250,000 fine goes back to Academy of Dover.  I think it should.  Taxpayers were robbed by Rodriguez, they deserve to have their tax money go back to what it was allocated for.

The article referenced the State Auditor of Accounts report, conducted by Kathleen Davies in 2014 and 2015.

“A major concern regarding the situation at the [school] is the length of time that passed without any intervention from oversight parties” the school board of directors and auditors, the Department of Education and the Charter School Accountability Committee, the report said.

It is my most fervent hope that all four of those entities know better now and this never happens again in Delaware.

Say, what about Providence Creek Academy?  What is going on with their theft of school funds?  Sean Moore and Tennell Brewington of Family Foundations Academy and now Rodriguez all pled guilty.  What about PCA’s shenanigans?  And the fact that one of the entities Davies slammed in her audit investigation just so happens to have PCA’s Head of School on it?  The good old Charter School Accountability Committee.  Word on the street is Chuck Taylor will be resigning soon and collecting that nice increased pension based on the past three years of service when he came back to rescue the school during the fall of 2014.  Say, is that matter still under investigation?

For Rodriguez, this puts a capper on that shenanigan.  As the article mentioned, Academy of Dover is still open and they actually increased their enrollment this year.

 

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Delaware Attorney General Office Investigating Ex-Principal Noel Rodriguez of Academy of Dover

According to an article on WBOC’s website, former Academy of Dover Principal Noel Rodriguez is being investigated by the Office of Civil Rights and Public Trust division of the Delaware Attorney General’s office.  This office, which opened in January when Attorney General Matt Denn took office, also investigated the former heads of school at Family Foundations Academy, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, but no charges were filed in that case.

The heat is on for charter schools after this report came out.  With seven charters under investigation by the State Auditor, Tom Wagner, you can be sure legislators will be pushing for radical change.  One of them, State Rep. Kim Williams, finally got her House Bill 186 released from the House Education Committee after Chair Earl Jaques sat on it for a week.  The bill goes to the House for a full vote, but it is not on any agenda yet.  Furthermore, even if it passes the House, it would go to the Senate Education Committee, which probably won’t convene again until January 2016 when the legislators take their 6 month hiatus.