TRONA CHARTER SCHOOL SCAM

News pertaining directly to Trona, Death Valley, the northern Mojave Desert, Inyo County, and adjacent areas.

TRONA CHARTER SCHOOL SCAM

Postby ergot » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:47 pm

CA STEAM San Bernardino
Eli Johnson was present at a TJUSD on at least one occasion. He was one of the individuals arrested as part of this scam.
Listed as one of the schools involved in the charter school scam. Sounded familiar and so I did a search. It was mentioned in the following threads:
OCTOBER 13, 2016: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=478
d) Charter California STEAM San Bernardino - updated board on issues regarding supervision of charter school and talked about conference attended along with financial secretary and HS principal. Also mentioned the “Dragon Lady” (aka, lawyer for school district) who drafted MOU between charter school and TJUSD

March 09, 2017: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=504
5) Eli Johnson (Charter School Report) - Mr. Johnson updated the board regarding the charter school sponsored by TJUSD. He asserted that the charter has reached a total enrollment of over 1400 students (and growing) and that the charter will be sending the district a check for over $100k soon. He also talked a little about the charter's diversity profile, possible accreditation, and plans for accommodating special education students.

September 14, 2017: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=529
3) Superintendent’s Report - The superintendent reported regarding a conference he attended in Sacramento regarding charter schools and stated that we received about $250,000 from the charter (California STEAM San Bernardino) for the 2016-2017 school year. Our charter has an enrollment of 1300 students.

May 10, 2018: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=565
Charter School - A representative from California STEAM San Bernardino presented information to the board about a request for the district to authorize a second charter school called University Prep San Bernardino. This second charter school would focus more on students with a variety of special needs. A number of aspects of the programs were discussed with many questions being raised by board members and those in the audience. It was reported that the charter school has paid $500k to the district over a period of two years.

June 14, 2018: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=574
2) TTA Report: Suggestion made that revenue received from sponsored charter school(s) be reported on a monthly basis in a manner similar to the way royalties from the chemical plant are reported. It was noted that a claim was made a month or two ago that the charter school paid $500k to the district during the last two years. It would help the staff and public feel more confident about the relationship between the district and the charter school if there was more transparency and reporting revenue received would be a solid step in that direction.
Last edited by ergot on Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
ergot
Backcountry Hiker
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Le monde aliéné

Re: CA STEAM San Bernardino

Postby ergot » Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:57 pm

User avatar
ergot
Backcountry Hiker
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Le monde aliéné

Re: CA STEAM San Bernardino

Postby ergot » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:01 pm

Eleven Charged in $50 Million Charter School Fraud Scheme
The main organization was called A3 Charter Schools, but charter schools included:
The schools include Valiant Academy, CA STEAM, Uplift California, California Academy of Sports Science, California Vanguard Fresno, University Prep and California Prep.

TJUSD sponsored a branch of CA STEAM. Whether local officials received kickbacks remains to be seen, but Eli Johnson is listed here.
Other named defendants include Justin Schmitt, Robert Williams, Robert Nguyen, Eli Johnson, Nyla Crider, Kalehua Kukahiko and Troy Kukahiko.

https://www.courthousenews.com/eleven-charged-in-50-million-charter-school-fraud-scheme/
User avatar
ergot
Backcountry Hiker
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Le monde aliéné

Re: CA STEAM San Bernardino

Postby ergot » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:05 pm

April 12, 2018: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=562
4) Charter School Report - A representative from California STEAM San Bernardino gave a report to the board. CA STEAM is a charter school sponsored by TJUSD. The representative talked about the types of students served by his organization, enrollment growth over the last couple years, a bit about his teaching staff, and about payments being made to TJUSD as part of the sponsorship deal. He also talked about expansions planned for the future and a petition to get TJUSD to sponsor these expansions. The superintendent responded by explaining to the board that the petition will be thoroughly vetted and that they will have a chance to decide on whether or not to sponsor the expansions at a future meeting.
User avatar
ergot
Backcountry Hiker
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Le monde aliéné

Re: CA STEAM San Bernardino

Postby ergot » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:16 pm

Interestingly, Keith Tomes became superintendent in September of 2015 and it was only a couple months later that the first CA STEAM presentation was made:
DEC 10, 2015: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=437
California STEAM - A presentation regarding a charter school program was given. The presentation lasted at least twenty minutes. Lots of information provided about various programs relating to language courses, technology courses, etc. Board members asked questions about the financial relationship that would exist between the group running the charter school and the school district. Answers were somewhat ambiguous.

Nothing suspicious here... :smack:
User avatar
ergot
Backcountry Hiker
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Le monde aliéné

Re: CA STEAM San Bernardino

Postby ergot » Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:24 pm

January 14, 2016: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=441
California Prep Charter: The board voted to move forward with developing an affiliation between TJUSD and California Prep Charter following a lengthy question and answer session with a representative of the organization. Last month he and a colleague made a presentation to the board.

The plot thickens...
April 14, 2016: http://tronanews.us/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=451
6) Cal STEAM Academy - The board approved a contract agreement with this charter school. A spokesman for the organization promised the district $100k in revenues the first year plus free access to online curriculum for students attending TJUSD, as well as some kind of a scholarship. Deana Garrison expressed some skepticism over the deal, but said she hoped for good results.
User avatar
ergot
Backcountry Hiker
 
Posts: 678
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:58 am
Location: Le monde aliéné

Re: TRONA CHARTER SCHOOL SCAM

Postby recluse » Sat Jun 01, 2019 9:33 pm

That's some nice sleuthing around. You connected a bunch of dots and here's another potential dot:
https://www.ucg.org/user/keith-tomes
If this is the same Keith Tomes who is supt of TJUSD, then I'd want to know if any of the others associated with the charter scam are members of the United Church of God. If so, then I smell a rat. Often scams develop within religious organizations for some strange reason.
User avatar
recluse
Cantankerous Mule
 
Posts: 382
Joined: Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:48 am
Location: where you'd least expect

Re: TRONA CHARTER SCHOOL SCAM

Postby camel » Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:23 pm

Never trust a religious person!
ERGOT: Interesting story and I wonder what the local fallout will be. I'd be willing to bet that investigators will be following the trail from the top down to each local district that signed on. It will be interesting to find out if there was anyone locally who got some kind of kickback or financial incentive for signing on. The state will almost certainly audit the heck out of Trona and any other district involved in this scheme.
Would you walk a mile for me?
User avatar
camel
Fleabitten Varmint
 
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 9:16 am
Location: Vast ocean of sand

Re: TRONA CHARTER SCHOOL SCAM

Postby CrustyOldFart » Sun Jun 02, 2019 6:10 am

Sounds like :whack02:
I wonder if the daily insufficient will be covering this story.
User avatar
CrustyOldFart
Lonesome Miner
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Sun Dec 30, 2012 9:03 am

Re: TRONA CHARTER SCHOOL SCAM

Postby Sparky of SoCal » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:08 am

A secondary bummer issue is some people will use this bunch of crooks dirty deeds to discredit all the Charter School system.
Sparky of SoCal
Cantankerous Mule
 
Posts: 306
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:19 am

Next

Return to Local News

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests