A few months ago, the Delaware Auditor of Accounts found some red flags with Kuumba Academy in regards to misuse of financial funds with their overpayments to their Head of School, Assistant Head of School, and their Custodian. There wasn’t much that came of it, but upon looking at Kuumba’s October board minutes, I found a very interesting section dealing with this audit.
Raye Jones Avery is the Vice-President of Governance for the board, Sally Maldonado is the Head of School, and Ken Brown is the Vice-President of Facilities for the board. What is so suspicious about the “timing and tone of the report”? Given the splurges at Family Foundations Academy and Academy of Dover, it would stand to reason the State Auditor would want to look at charter school spending of procurement cards. I’m not sure what the DSCN is, but I am assuming it was a misspelling of the Delaware Charter Schools Network based on a Google search and seeing several others misspell this abbreviation. This non-profit vehemently opposed Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams charter school audit legislation, House Bill 186. As well, even if the findings were “out of scope”, of course the auditor’s office is going to do a “scope” around the school’s finances given what has gone on at several Delaware charters. I love the arrogance of some of these charter leaders and board members. They will do anything to escape accountability! They make it seem like this was all some witch hunt. The Auditor’s office found something, and it wasn’t good. Instead of taking your lumps, especially the Head of School who seems to have escaped unscathed from all this, they sit around at a board meeting talking about it. In sharp contrast to this was Providence Creek Academy, who proactively found an issue, reported it to the Auditor’s office, and fixed the problem so it wouldn’t happen again!
And I apologize if I am going “out of scope” on this article, but I couldn’t help but notice the Teach For America and Relay Graduate School love going on at this school in the very same board minutes…
I have to say it is very sad when I see a school debating which teachers are better, TFA or Relay. I will just leave it at that…
Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office released the Family Foundation Academy full inspection report a year after it was revealed their office was investigating them. The biggest finding: Ex Head of School leaders Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, as well as other employees of the school, racked up $141,000 in personal purchases with over $1.2 million unverifiable whether it was business or pleasure. The report talks about the settlement agreement Moore and Brewington and the Board of Directors for a little over $85,000. There is a mountain of abuse and violations in this report! Even some that occurred well after East Side Charter essentially took over the school at the end of last year. This is really, really bad.
AOA’s inspection revealed the administration at Family Foundations Academy (the Academy) seemingly operated in its own universe during the period July 1, 2011 through January 31, 2015.
Updated, 3:45pm: with the press release from State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office:
Delaware State Auditor Thomas Wagner released a report today and Delaware College Prep and Kuumba Academy showed significant discrepancies regarding reimbursement of funds to school leaders. Thomas Edison Charter School and MOT Charter School, also included in the inspection, came through with flying colors. For Delaware College Prep, there was a “party loan” over $11,000.00 involving the Board President. For Kuumba, the Head of School, Assistant Head of School and a custodian were overpaid and the report alleges violations of state code in procuring contracts without any bidding process.
This tells us the seven charters that were under investigation by Wagner’s office. Family Foundations Academy, Academy of Dover, Providence Creek Academy, Thomas Edison Charter School, MOT Charter School, Delaware College Prep and Kuumba Academy. I have a sneaky feeling Delaware Met could fit into this category in the future based on events currently happening there.
More to come on this unexpected development. Congrats to Thomas Edison and MOT for doing the right thing. Kuumba and Delaware College Prep… there are no words! To the members of the General Assembly: House Bill 186 needs to pass first thing in January 2016. The charter financial fraud in our state must pass. All Delaware Republicans need to open their eyes to this mismanagement and outright theft of state funds and do the right thing.