Saturday, October 06, 2007
Thursday, October 04, 2007
Just a little 'ol audit on a little 'ol Ohio charter school
The school, Chase Academy for Communication Arts, at 1533 Cleveland Ave., also was not a nonprofit corporation, as required by law, meaning its state education aid could go to pay state and federal taxes, according to the audit of the school year that ended in June 2006.
The audit says school Director Celia Jones paid her niece $2,250 to be an administrative assistant and paid a board member $15,000 for pupil transportation and food services.
School officials, including Jones, have reimbursed the school $9,839 as a result of the audit.
The audit says Chase Academy violated other state requirements by:
Reimbursing Jones and other school officials $3,441 without any documentation as to why.
Allowing Jones to solely approve reimbursing herself $18,688 for gasoline, a van rental, classroom supplies and other items.
Presenting auditors with altered or “created” invoices for $23,640 of payments, “fraudulent actions which could lead to inaccurate reports.”
Paying employees, including Jones, amounts not in accordance with their approved rates of pay. Auditors found that 17 percent of the payroll transactions tested were paid in error.
Not keeping accurate personnel files: 32 percent of employees didn’t have current employment contracts, 82 percent had not completed state retirement forms, and 4 percent had not compled tax-withholding forms.
Borrowing $18,000 without authorization or review from the board. Only Jones agreed to the loan, and she wrote checks and used a debit card on the school’s account with no board review or approval.
Failing to ensure that its treasurer was bonded.
Failing to submit a five-year financial forecast.
Not having documentation on how $2,774 was spent.
Purchasing a $51 YMCA membership for a teacher and three students related to that teacher.
Jones could not immediately be reached for comment. In the audit, the school generally responded to the findings by saying it has made changes and tightened its procedures.
A letter to Rep. Clifford Hite
The Ohio House of Representatives
October 4, 2007
Retired Ohio teacher
(Address, phone #)
Time for OSBA to carry the ball
Subject: To all4
John Curry: Hey Cliff, I'm still waiting!
Subject: Hey Cliff, I'm still waiting!
Well, it's been over one month and MY Representative (Cliff Hite-76th Ohio House District) has been non-communicative with me concerning the correspondence below. It's a shame this guy is a retired educator and won't even communicate with a voter of his very own House District. You, your friends, and family might want to remember this the next time he runs for public office. John
Subject: NW Ohio (House District 76) and a co-sponsor of HB 151 IS A RETIRED TEACHER!!!!!!
A retiree speaks out
From Brian Rothenburg,ProgressOhio.org
Progress Ohio Office
251 S. 3rd St. Columbus, OH 43215 Speakers:
550 Main St.
HB 315 sent to Committee!
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Divestment will hurt retirees!
From our educator retiree friend in Colorado...she's not afraid to speak her piece! This article appeared in the Rocky Mountain News. This concept (divestment) also applies to ALL Ohio public service retirees. If Josh Mandel's HB 151 is pulled out of committee and put before the Ohio Legislature for a vote by House Speaker Jon Husted we all (Ohio public retirement systems) stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars!
"I read with interest the Sept. 16 Speakout column, “It’s imperative that Colorado divest from Iran,” written by four esteemed Colorado legislators. The “Colorado” of the headline, in this instance, is in reference to Colorado PERA. Nowhere in this column did I find the same level of concern expressed for these same investments made by banks, brokerage and investment firms, business and labor pension funds, or even private individuals and legislators.
Why would a divestment bill only target PERA and no other such person or entity? Furthermore, divestment bills only target defined-benefit plans for divestment, not defined-contribution plans, which must only add one “clean” fund. One can only assume that as soon as these high-yield stocks are divested from PERA’s defined-benefit plan, they can and will be quickly purchased by any one person and any entity ... with the exception of Colorado’s PERA defined-benefit plan.
Since these divested stocks will continue to be listed on the stock market in this era of globalization, the only ones who will suffer are those teachers, policemen, firemen and public servants who have invested their lifelong savings in Colorado’s PERA defined-benefit plan.
Let’s trust our managers, board of trustees and shareholders/investors to make the correct financial decisions for Colorado’s PERA defined-benefit plan. That’s our responsibility! And our life savings!"
Columbus teachers are fighting back!
Columbus Dispatch, October 2, 2007
Teachers union points IRS at conservatives
The Columbus Education Association has asked the IRS to review the tax-exempt status of the conservative Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, alleging that the local free market think tank broke the law with a "clear pattern of political campaign coordination" before Todd sued Columbus City Schools last month.
Todd filed a lawsuit Sept. 17 claiming that the district violates children's rights by spending thousands of dollars more per-student at some of its schools. He based the suit on a Buckeye Institute report released three days later.
The teachers union contends Todd's campaign and the think tank shared information and documents before and after that week.
Buckeye Institute President David Hansen said in a statement today that his organization "engages" all sorts of policymakers but doesn't support political parties or candidates.
"The Buckeye Institute will not be intimidated by union bullies who seek to silence opposing points of view," he said.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
CORE visits legislators re: HB 315
John Curry responds to post on Jill Zimon's blog, 'Writes Like She Talks'
Meet Jarrod Weiss, candidate for the Columbus Board of Education
Monday, October 01, 2007
RH Jones: Retired Educator Health Care a Must
Subject: Retired Educator Health Care a Must
Lantern editorial re: Columbus mayoral race
Subject: OSU Lantern opines re. Columbus mayoral race
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Some health care facts for educators
White Hat Jr. wants to ride the Central City range... & also wants to send all your little buckaroos to charter schools!
The Dispatch will sponsor a debate Wednesday between Democrat Michael B. Coleman and Republican challenger William M. Todd.
It starts at noon at the
Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe, 1421 Olentangy River Rd.,
and will be streamed on the Web at Dispatch.com and 10TV.com and broadcast on the radio at WOSU (820 AM).
The debate is hosted by the Columbus Metropolitan Club. Ticket information is available at www.columbusmetroclub.org.
So why is one of the men running for the job this year spending so much time talking about schools?
Republican William M. Todd has called for a City Hall takeover of Columbus City Schools. He has sued the district over the amount of money it spends on students in different parts of town. He now is running an ad on radio urging parents to send their children elsewhere.
And he gets tears in his eyes sometimes when he talks about it.
"At this point in my life, it certainly would be easier to sit back and enjoy a comfortable practice of law," said the 54-year-old Downtown lawyer, longtime GOP insider and first-time political candidate.
Sitting in the Starbucks at Broad and High, he became misty-eyed again Thursday morning when asked why the issue moves him to tears. In two previous interviews and at a June news conference, Todd has gotten emotional when talking about children in poorly performing schools.
"It really doesn't have anything to do with personal ambition," he said. "You can sit back your whole life and complain about how things aren't as good as they should be, or you can step up and try to make a difference."
Democrats don't believe him for an instant.
Between January and June -- a time when education began climbing on his priority list -- Todd's biggest individual campaign donor was David L. Brennan, an Akron businessman who runs Ohio's biggest for-profit operator of charter schools.
Todd listed himself in a February filing with the state as assistant vice president of School Choice Ohio, a nonprofit advocacy group that shares a State Street address and registered lobbyist with Brennan's White Hat Management.
Todd earned $12,000 from School Choice Ohio when he helped incorporate the group in the state of Delaware.
In those ties, critics see sinister motives.
"Him bringing up education has nothing to do with bettering public education," said Columbus school-board member W. Carlton Weddington, who has fired back hardest for the Democrats. "It's an agenda he's pushing to help those who are donating to his campaign."
Mayor Michael B. Coleman's campaign has been more dismissive. Supporters of Coleman, a Democrat, point out repeatedly that Todd has never lived within Columbus City Schools boundaries -- his Northwest Side home is in the Worthington district -- and suggest the Republican might be more interested in a school-board seat than the mayor's office.
Coleman himself said he prefers "practical partnerships" to Todd's takeover. He talks about a "positive impact" that contrasts with Todd's legal confrontation. The Republican filed suit Sept. 17 on behalf of five district residents, saying that differences in per-student funding from school to school violate the Ohio Constitution.
"I would much rather spend money in a classroom than a courtroom," Coleman said.
The mayor of Columbus has no official role in Columbus schools or any of the other 10 school districts within city limits. Todd calls that an accident of history that needs to be corrected. The health of cities depends too heavily on schools for the two to be governed separately, he says.