WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A local charter school group’s submission of records to state regulators omits a significant portion of the required information.
This afternoon Roger Bacon Academy (RBA) Public Information Officer Sawyer Batten delivered to WWAY a copy of what she says Charter Day School, Inc. (CDS), which RBA manages, submitted today to the Department of Public Instruction in response to an Aug. 13 letter from DPI Chief Financial Officer Philip Price to charter schools titled “Charter School Public Records Expectations.”
Click here to read Price’s letter to charter schools regarding public records
Click here to see what CDS submitted to DPI
In his letter Price highlighted a new law pertaining to charter school records. He also outlined other information and records required to be submitted to DPI under the schools’ charters regarding their relationship with private companies, or educational management organizations (EMO), that help manage the schools. That information includes:
-A list of all employees paid by the EMO (or any vendor) that are assigned to manage or work at the school. Minimum information to be included:
o Duties (brief description)
o Annual Salary
-A Budget/expenditure report that outlines each year of the contract
o A description of the activity
o Budget amount (sum of which equals the contract total)
o Prior year/current year expenditures
Based on that letter, on Sept. 2, WWAY requested the same information from CDS, regarding its relationship with Roger Bacon Academy, which manages its four schools: Charter Day School in Leland, Columbus Charter School in Whiteville, Douglass Academy in Wilmington and South Brunswick Charter School near Southport. Both RBA and CDS were founded by businessman Baker Mitchell.
In its state filing released today to WWAY, CDS released a series of budget documents, many of which had previously been made available through other open records requests. The filing, though, did not include the expected information regarding salaries of RBA employees who “are assigned to manage or work at the school(s)” nor any description of those people’s duties. The filing did include web links to flow charts for CDS schools with names of employees, including those employed by RBA, and their titles. Earlier this month Batten provided WWAY with a copy of a letter CDS Chairman John Ferrante sent to
In his cover letter to the filing, CDS Chairman John Ferrante writes “CDS does not possess individual salaries paid by any private corporation that furnishes services.”
When asked why the salary information was not included, Batten would say only that the documents represented what CDS had submitted to DPI. When a WWAY reporter later went to RBA’s office in Leland to get more information after having a chance to review the filing, Batten said she would not answer any questions. She said it was a CDS matter and any questions needed to be referred to the school. Batten has previously served as the media contact for CDS and has been the sole point of contact throughout this request for public information from CDS.
WWAY and other media outlets, including the StarNews, have made several requests in recent months to obtain this financial information in an attempt to provide accountability and transparency for how taxpayer money is being spent on charter schools, which are considered public schools.
In his August letter to the charter schools, Price wrote, “Failure to comply with the requirements… will be considered a violation of the Uniform Education Reporting System and will result in financial non-compliance per State Board of Education policy TCS-U-006.”
This afternoon neither Price nor Joel Medley, Director of the NC Office of Charter Schools, could immediately be reached for comment.
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