West Sacramento charter school students show up for first day; find school closed + UPDATE: West Sac charter school formally closed
Written by Karen Massie, News 10 / KXTV (Sacramento) | http://bit.ly/oPCfdPWatch the story 7:36 PM, Sep 2, 2011 | WEST SACRAMENTO, CA - The California College, Career and Technical Education Center has shutdown in West Sacramento leaving teachers and students and staff scrambling to find somewhere else to go.
Some parents apparently found out about the charter school's unexpected closure when they arrived for an orientation meeting Thursday and found the school's doors locked.
Kirsten Malork showed up Friday to find out what was going on.
"I've heard the news, I just want to see for myself," Malork said. "My son Brandon Perry was going to be enrolled in the school. I was thinking okay, great. He's going to have a sense of direction. This school looked really good. It looked promising."
When CCCTec opened last fall, every student was provided with an IPad.
<< PAUL PRESTON - Dennis McCoy/Sacramento Business Journal
Owner and school superintendent Paul Preston said the school was designed for students who had struggled at other schools. They would be able to get enough credits to graduate, as well as, learn vocational skills, such as, auto repair, woodworking and graphic design.
Preston said the school had space for 200 students. But teacher Kathryn Schroeder-Kelly said when school ended last spring only about 66 students were enrolled.
Fewer students severely reduced the amount of per pupil funding the school received from the state.
Schroeder-Kelly said the school's money problems became apparent to teachers in February.
"My paycheck bounced," Schroeder-Kelly said. "That's when I thought, well, this is weird. But I got a cashier's check and everything was fine."
Then two months later Schroeder-Kelly said Preston informed teachers their checks would be late.
"Eventually our checks were issued," Schroeder-Kelly said. "Some went through but some of them bounced."
A letter sent from the State Board of Education to the school last June said, "CCCTec appears to have failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles, or engaged in fiscal mismanagement."
The letter said the school had not paid teachers, several vendors and had missed payments to the California State Teachers Retirement System.
Attempts to contact Preston fell short because the school's phone number rang to a busy.
Preston posted an apology notice on the school's door blaming "budgetary confines and a lack of funding" for CCCTec's financial woes.
The school's Facebook page talked about a $750,000 grant it had received. The California Department of Education is demanding that $57,000 be returned.
Malork said she knows the school received even more money from the state.
"What happened to the money?" Malork said. "It should have benefited the kids around here that now have no where to go."
Another notice on the school's door referred students to other schools in West Sacramento.
Schroeder-Kelly is looking for another job and said she hopes her students land in someone else's class.
"Believe in yourselves," Schroeder-Kelly said. "Continue working and make sure you get in school and keep your eye on the prize."
West Sacramento charter school students show up for first day; find school closed
Written by Paul Janes & George Warren, News 10 / KXTV (Sacramento) |
1:07 PM, Sep 2, 2011 - WEST SACRAMENTO, CA - Arriving students and parents were stunned to find their charter high school closed on what was supposed to be the first day of school.
A terse announcement on the Calilfornia College, Career and Technical Education Center (CCCTEC) website reported the school had been shut down because of "budgetary confines and a lack of funding."
The shutdown follows a scathing letter in June from the California State Board of Education suggesting CCCTEC had failed to meet generally accepted accounting principles or had engaged in fiscal mismanagement.
The letter said teaching staff reported the school was as much as four months behind in issuing paychecks. Vendors also reported unpaid bills, according to the Board of Education letter.
The mother of one CCCTEC student said she showed up for orientation on Thursday to find the school locked. She said about 40 parents waited outside for hours for an explanation that never came.
CCCTEC's website referred freshmen, sophomores and juniors to West Sac Prep Charter High School. Seniors were referred to River City High School or Yolo High School.
We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused your household," CCCTEC superintendent Paul Preston wrote.
UPDATE: West Sac charter school formally closed
Written by C. Johnson, News 10 / KXTV (Sacramento)
6:05 PM, Sep 2, 2011 |WEST SACRAMENTO - Parents and students were left bewildered Thursday to find California College Career and Technical Charter High School not open and ready for the new school year.
Friday, the high school reactivated its website to state "due to budgetary confines and lack of funding, California College Career and Technical Charter High School is now closed."
According to a source, the first-year school was supposed to enroll around 300 students, but only 61 registered. The California Department of Education then investigated the school and uncovered irregular bookkeeping, unpaid teachers, potentially falsified attendance records and several other problems.
On the website, the school apologized for any inconvenience and said to call (916) 371-2833 to request transcripts and refunds.
Refunds for school uniforms purchased would be made within 90 days, the school promised.
smf’s 2¢: According to CCTEC’s charter petition to the State Board of Education[http://1,usa,gov/osKyOi]
- On Nov 30, 2009 the Washington Unified School District DENIED CCTEC’s petition to start a charter School.
- On Jan 25, 2010 the Yolo County Board of Education also DENIED CCCTEC’s petition.
- On Feb 5, 2010 CCTEC applied to the State Board of Ed and was AWARDED a charter on May 10, 2010.
- CCCTEC opened in Sept 2010.
- Preston was also attempting to open a second charter school, Woodland Polytechnic Academy, on the CCCTEC model.
- And there’s that letter from the State Board alleging fiscal impropriety, the bounced checks, the missed payments to CALSTRS and the $750,000 grant.