State orders 120-day takeover of Colorado Springs Charter Academy over financial troubles

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – The Colorado Department of Education is ordering a third party to take over the trustee powers of Colorado Springs Charter Academy (CSCA) following several financial issues at the school.

In a preliminary order from Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Commissioner Katy Anthes, she says Colorado Springs Charter Academy’s financial condition is “extremely uncertain.”

Because of these concerns, Anthes directed former R-1 Superintendent of the Jefferson County School District, Daniel M. McMinimee, to take over the duties of the CSCA Board of Trustees.

In April, the Colorado attorney general’s office issued a “cease and desist” request to CSCA board members following accusations of mishandling school funds and violating policies. advice.

A letter from the Colorado Attorney General’s Office ordered the charter school’s board of trustees to cease appointing new board members until further notice due to a breach of contract with the Colorado Charter School Institute (CSI).

CSI says one of the charter school’s board members was given permission to become a signer of his operating account, access the school’s accounting system, and own a $50 credit card. $000 without proper authorization.

Anthes and the CDE have been asked to act as an intermediary between the two parties in this matter.

In the order sent to the CSCA and the CSI on June 8, the state notes that charter school financial management issues and gaps in the board’s government processes pose a significant threat to the CSCA’s ability. to stay open.

Anthes believes that without intervention, the CSCA is unlikely to resolve its fiscal year 2023 budget for the upcoming school year, which is scheduled for next month. According to the ordinance, the upcoming budget depends on two unresolved factors: enrollment and staff salaries. Some of the staff salaries remain unapproved, while enrollment numbers for 2023 are unclear.

Meanwhile, the “CSCA Financial Management Contractor position will end by July 20, 2022.” The position is responsible for bookkeeping, payroll and accounting services.

The CDE order outlines CSCA’s plan to address a number of concerns:

“The plan (of CSCA) includes several stages to occur within 30, 90 and 100 days. Within 30 days, the board plans to solicit proposals and engage a school board company to provide board and staff training, assess and document staff concerns, assess and document board needs, assess and rewrite policies as needed. Within 90 days, the consulting firm must complete an assessment, issue a report and recommendations, and a chief financial officer must be hired. Within 100 days, (CSCA) will meet with CSI.

However, the CDE commissioner found that the CSCA had presented no evidence that it had made “substantial progress towards these goals”. With the upcoming school year starting in less than 90 days, the commissioner says that while all milestones were completed on time, the plan does not provide timely guidance as to whether or not the school will be ready for the coming year. come.

“Based on the foregoing, the commissioner concludes that there is urgency and a significant risk of irreparable harm,” Anthes said in his June 8 order. “The commissioner also believes that the risk to (the CSCA’s) solvency bears directly on its ability to open and maintain operations in the coming school year, to pay staff and to educate its enrolled students. the inability of (CSCA) to open – or its closure during the school year – would cause serious disruption to students, their education and the 7 members of staff; would displace enrolled students, who would need to transfer to other schools.

According to the board of directors, they are reduced to three of the seven administrators. Several directors have resigned since the beginning of December 2021.

13 Investigations Monday, contacted the Colorado Springs Charter Academy attorney and treasurer for comment. We are awaiting responses for both.

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