Closed charter school owes state nearly $1.2-million

General Chappie James Leadership Academy. (WDTN Photo)
General Chappie James Leadership Academy. (WDTN Photo)

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio State Auditor’s Office says a now closed Dayton area charter school padded its attendance figures by nearly 50 percent.

Auditor Dave Yost released the findings of the audit for the General Chappie James Leadership Academy on Monday.

He says the state is owed nearly $1.2-million in funding to the school for students that didn’t exist.

“It’s no mistake when your attendance records are off by nearly half,” said Yost. “These findings illustrate the need for meaningful charter school reform.”

The charter school was accused in March 2014 of inflating attendance numbers to receive more money from the Ohio Department of Education.

The auditor’s office and Montgomery County deputies raided the school on April 14, 2014 and confiscated school records. The special audit was then launched. It reviewed records from July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2014.

Auditors found that the academy reported 459 students, but it could not be proven that 220 of those students actually attended the school. It found that several students were named for multiple years which the auditor says is fraudulent.

The auditor’s office interviewed 30 families out of 141 attempts. It also interviewed three former staff members of Chappie James Academy.

The finding of recovery of $1,179,879 was issued against Academy Director Kecia Williams to be paid back to the state.

2 NEWS reached out to Yost and asked how the state can avoid these instances of fraud from charter schools.

The state auditor said, “The bottom line here is you have to do the work and in this case, there was fraud on the part of the school itself and the sponsor failed to detect it  because they, in my opinion, weren’t doing the kind of things that would have enabled them to detect it.”

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office is now considering criminal charges.

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