Reporting Nick Janes
Lincoln (CBS13) – A chain of charter schools is in turmoil, and now parents fear their kids may be left with no place to learn.
Horizon has already shut down several campuses, and parents fear others will be next.
Parents again blasted the Horizon school board with seven pages worth of complaints, accusing the board of ethics violations and mismanaging money.
“Thoroughly investigate the allegations of deceit, misrepresentation and fraud,” said Todd Pfeffer, a teacher facing layoffs.
Soon-to-be laid off teachers joined fed-up parents in calling for an investigation. This comes amid fears of a looming shutdown for two more Horizon locations.
The charter school already closed its Rocklin and Lincoln sites, leaving hundreds of students with no place to learn.
“Gross negligence, and total disregard of the consequences of the impact it had on all families points to an incompetence that goes well beyond plain mismanagement,” parent Rebecca Fong said.
A Horizon employee provided CBS13 with an eviction letter from Horizon’s landlord, alleging the charter school is behind on rent payments. The letter orders Horizon to vacate its Elk Grove and Auburn locations. However, Board members dispute the landlord’s claims, and say there are no immediate plans to close more schools.
“We’ve pulled invoices and made sure all payments were taken care of,” said Horizon Chief Academic Officer Cynthia Wood.
Parents say they’ve heard this before from a board they claim has misled them about money time and again.
“The whole Horizon organization has let down our children,” said Fong.
The superintendent for Western Placer Unified School District heard the complaints firsthand as it has oversight over Horizon.
Right now the superintendent stresses they aren’t investigating but they are listening.
“If there’s illegal activity, if there’s misappropriation of funds, if they don’t meet the goals of their charter,” said Superintendent Scott Leaman. “We haven’t seen any of those things yet.”
One notable absence from the meeting was Horizon’s CEO. He’s said to be vacationing in Europe, something that isn’t sitting well with parents.
Horizon’s school board promised to schedule a meeting in the near future to talk more with parents about their concerns.