Indictments Announced In California Charter Academy Investigation

Indictments Announced In California Charter Academy Investigation


(Best Syndication) SAN BERNARDINO - County Superintendent of Schools Herbert Fischer made the following statement regarding criminal grand jury indictments made in the California Charter Academy (CCA) Investigation. District Attorney Mike Ramos announced the indictments of Charles Steven Cox, 59, of Phelan and Tad Theron Honeycutt, 44, of Hesperia during a 2 p.m. press conference today.

"I appreciate the seriousness in which District Attorney Ramos has responded to this malfeasance of public funds.

"From the initial audit of CCA, undertaken with State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, I was deeply concerned that public dollars could be so gravely misused.

"Charter schools can and do provide quality alternatives and innovative options for students and parents. Yet, as stewards of the taxpayer's dollars, we have a legal and ethical obligation to see to it that educational dollars intended for children are accounted for and that those responsible for using those funds for activities other than public education are held responsible.

"I am grateful to District Attorney Ramos and Superintendent O'Connell - who in the best interest of our students, their families and our communities - have worked collaboratively to see that those who misused funds intended for the education of children are brought to justice."

Before it closed in late July and early August 2004, CCA operated more than 50 satellite sites across California and enrolled over 4,500 K-12 students and more than 7,500 adult students. CCA had three of its four schools chartered out of San Bernardino County school districts, Oro Grande Elementary and Snowline Joint Unified.

O'Connell ordered an audit and investigation of CCA's operations following a recommendation by the State Advisory Commission on Charter Schools in March 2004. In June 2004, the County Offices of Education in San Bernardino and Orange joined with the CDE to launch the investigation that was conducted by the Fiscal Crisis Management and Assistance Team (FCMAT).

The audit of the now defunct CCA reported the misuse of millions of dollars of state public school funds as a result of improper expenditures and transfers of funds, inadequate oversight, conflicts of interest, claiming of funds for ineligible average daily attendance and independent study and an overall lack of fiscal controls.

In all, the audit report concluded that CCA received more than $23 million in state charter school funds for which it was not entitled.

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