February 8, 2021
Statement Re: St. Louis College Preparatory Academy
Accountability is essential for any organization especially a public school and its leadership. On Friday the founding leader of the now-closed St. Louis College Preparatory Academy was sentenced to 1 year in prison and ordered to repay over two million dollars in state funding after falsifying student attendance data. This situation is tragic. Parents and taxpayers trust their public schools to do everything within their power to teach their children well and to do nothing to hurt them or the cause of public education. When that trust is broken, the consequences should be severe.
The Missouri Charter Public School Association and Missouri’s charter school community unequivocally do not condone any individual or entity falsifying data. We are thankful this was discovered and those involved were held accountable. The tracking of student attendance and submission of data to calculate funding must always be done with 100% accuracy. Missouri’s charter school community takes this so seriously charter public school boards have adopted resolutions affirming their commitment to ensuring strong financial oversight and attendance reporting practices are in place and followed at all times (visit mocharterschools.org).
Almost all of the people working in Missouri’s 567 public school districts and 68 charter public schools are honest people who are completely dedicated to their students. In the last ten years, there have been more than a dozen cases of fraud found in Missouri’s public education system. Even one case of cheating in public education is wrong and should be dealt with harshly. But, rare instances of fraud reflect only on the people responsible for the crookedness— not the vast majority of school board members, educational leaders, and teachers working tirelessly for our kids.