State education board demands $11.2 million back from Epic Charter Schools over state audit findings | Education

Holt began her presentation by setting the record straight on two issues she said have been commonly mischaracterized in public discourse since the release of the state audit report a couple of weeks ago.

She said Gov. Kevin Stitt’s charge to State Auditor and Inspector Cindy Byrd included the task of reviewing annual audits on Epic from the previous three years, but it did not limit the scope of the forensic audit as a whole to any such time period.

In all, $125.2 million of the $458 million allocated to Epic Charter Schools for educating students the past six years was found to have ended up in the coffers of Epic Youth Services, a for-profit charter school management company that has reportedly made millionaires of school co-founders Ben Harris and David Chaney.

“We ask for annual appropriations totaling approximately $3 billion and $125 million works out to about 4.1%,” said

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How DC charter schools make in-person learning work

School leaders offer insight into how hybrid in-person learning is working at Social Justice Public Charter School and Friendship Public Charter School.

WASHINGTON — Shanita Simms decided to send her children back to in-person learning at Social Justice Public Charter School after realizing virtual learning was not working for her family. Simms said her kids — in fifth and sixth grades — have been happier since returning to school. 

“I feel good about sending them back so far, because when they were at home, they weren’t getting that experience and the knowledge that they needed,” the mother of three said. “They were struggling.”

Social Justice is in its first year and welcomed students back to its building in Northeast’s Fort Totten neighborhood about a month ago. The charter school is small and only has 50 students in 5th and 6th grades. 

Myron Long, the school’s founder, said only 20% of

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State education board calls special meeting on Epic Charter Schools audit | Education

Byrd’s office found that Epic exceeded the state’s 5% state cap on administrative overhead costs intended to ensure public schools direct most resources on students “year after year.”

The state auditor’s report cites “questionable classification and reporting of administrative costs” between FY 2017 and FY 2019 totaling $16.6 million for Epic One-on-One, a statewide virtual charter school, and $6.7 million for Epic Blended Learning Centers, which offer students in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties a blend of at-home and classroom-based studies.

And a $530,000 penalty imposed by the state school board in February, while significant, represented a fraction of what the state auditor said she has documented proof that Epic actually owes for underreported administrative payroll costs the past six fiscal years: $8.9 million.

Byrd previously called the penalty “a slap on the wrist.”

Her report says had Epic Charter Schools been assessed full penalties by the state, Chaney and Harris’

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Acero charter school network should add, not cut special education positions, union says

Union leaders and their supporters are calling “unconscionable” a decision by the city’s second-largest charter school system’s to slash about two dozen special education positions.

At a time when parents are struggling with remote learning, Acero Schools has chosen to make cuts when they should be adding positions, union leaders said during a Zoom conference call Tuesday. Acero called the claim of cutting staff by half “categorically false.”

“I want to be really, really clear: Acero is choosing to cut positions that serve our most vulnerable population of students. They have told us repeatedly that this is not financially motivated,” said Caroline Rutherford, a union rep for Acero schools.

Rutherford accused Acero of saving “a few pennies on the backs of our students.”

Acero has cut 26 positions — about half of the special education jobs across the organization’s 15-school system — in recent months, union leaders said. The cuts

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Charter Introduces Stay Connected K-12, Making It Easier For Students And Teachers To Participate In Online Learning

STAMFORD, Conn., Oct. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — With many school districts opting for full or hybrid distance learning this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Charter Communications, Inc., today announced Stay Connected K-12, a new Spectrum Enterprise solution that enables schools to offer high-speed, cable broadband Internet access direct to their students, educators and staff in their own homes so learning and teaching are uninterrupted. Residences are not billed for the service.

Stay Connected K-12 combines the robust speeds and rich features of Spectrum Internet with simplified program management and billing for local districts through Spectrum Enterprise and is a turnkey solution for their students and educators. Users can enjoy:

  • Download speeds up to 50 Mbps to support video collaboration and large file transfers.
  • In-home WiFi to connect all of the WiFi enabled devices in the residence.
  • Unlimited usage with no data caps, providing schools/districts with a consistent cost
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Newark Charter School Offers Free Learning Pods Amid Pandemic

NEWARK, NJ — No parent should have to choose between going to work or making sure their kids have child care. But that’s the crushing dilemma many essential employees in Newark are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Brick Education Network (BEN).

As parents in Newark grapple with the switch to all-remote learning, many are finding themselves struggling to find someone to look after their kids while they attend class online. In an effort to take some of the pressure off, BEN – which operates four charter schools in Newark – has launched a solution it says is unique in the Brick City: free learning pods.

Located at Marion P. Thomas Charter School HS of Culinary and Performing Arts, the pods provide a vital service for parents with kids enrolled at BEN schools. Each pod can accommodate up to 12 socially distanced students, giving them a safe place

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Coronavirus drives growth in SC charter school enrollment

Quan Pollock had long felt like the local public school district in Beaufort County wasn’t the best option for her teenage son.

She’d looked at home schooling and seen commercials for virtual charter schools on television, but wasn’t sure her son, who has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, was self-sufficient enough to thrive in a virtual environment where he would have to take greater responsibility for his own education.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, forcing Pollock’s son to finish his freshman year virtually, she realized she had underestimated his ability to learn independently.

“We saw that he would have been able to adjust and maintain himself,” she said.

So over the summer, Pollock joined the burgeoning ranks of South Carolina parents who have abandoned traditional public education during the pandemic and enrolled her son at Connections Academy, the largest of the state’s five virtual charter schools.

The pandemic-fueled exodus of

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SC charter school enrollment surges as COVID-19 awakens parents to education options

Quan Pollock had long felt like the local public school district in Beaufort County wasn’t the best option for her teenage son.

She’d looked at home schooling and seen commercials for virtual charter schools on television, but wasn’t sure her son, who has attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, was self-sufficient enough to thrive in a virtual environment where he would have to take greater responsibility for his own education.

When the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, forcing Pollock’s son to finish his freshman year virtually, she realized she had underestimated his ability to learn independently.

“We saw that he would have been able to adjust and maintain himself,” she said.

So over the summer, Pollock joined the burgeoning ranks of South Carolina parents who have abandoned traditional public education during the pandemic and enrolled her son at Connections Academy, the largest of the state’s five virtual charter schools.

The pandemic-fueled exodus

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Online Charter Schools Are Not a Solution to Education in a Pandemic

“Instead of going to school every morning, what if school could come to you?” an ad asks enticingly, promising students “online personalized learning” tailored to their specific needs. It’s one of hundreds of active Facebook ads run by K12 Inc., the largest for-profit virtual charter school provider in the United States. As public schools rose to the challenge of educating students online during the pandemic, corporations like K12 Inc., whose stock price has been climbing since mid-March, were licking their chops at the prospect of moving kids online permanently. Though virtual charter schools perform dismally academically and are plagued by scandal, the goal is for them to replace traditional brick-and-mortar public schools in an effort to privatize education. While this would harm students, it would most egregiously damage Black and Latino children, who’ve already been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, due to structural inequities such as lack of access to

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Charter offering 60 days of free internet for virtual learning

Charter is trying to help families that need internet service for virtual learning this school year

ST. LOUIS — With the coronavirus pandemic forcing schools around the area to utilize remote learning, Charter is offering 60 days of free internet service for families in need.

Charter’s Remote Education Offer provides 60 days of free internet access with speeds up to 200 Mbps. In order to qualify, the household needs to be in a Charter Spectrum market and have a K-12 or college student or a teacher. The offer is only good for customers that do not already have Charter service.

“The pandemic has prompted new focus on the technology divide and Charter is committed to being part of the comprehensive solution needed to close these gaps,” said Tom Rutledge, Charter Chairman and CEO.

For more information and to see if you qualify, call 844-310-1198. 

Charter first launched the program in

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