STOCKTON (CBS13) — The future of two Stockton charter schools is in limbo amid accusations of financial misconduct.
The New Jerusalem Elementary School District planned to meet with parents Wednesday evening, but was threatened with legal action from the outside group running both charter schools.
A cease-and-desist letter was sent to the New Jerusalem Elementary School District Wednesday afternoon by the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, which runs the Acacia Charter Schools in Stockton. In the letter, attorneys call the meeting a “shadow forum,” insinuating it was set up secretly, which they say is unprecedented.
David Thoming, New Jerusalem’s Superintendent, says, “Tonight’s meeting was supposed to be an open dialogue to share ideas and solutions about how to keep the schools open.”
Last September, Thoming says he uncovered 15 incidents of financial misconduct by the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation, the most egregious involving funding other charter schools with money from outside funding.
Thoming says money raised for one school is supposed to stay within that school.
The unusually low cash reserve in the corporation’s bank account is what made Thoming suspicious. The account only had $20,000 when it should have had more than $100,000.
“They just kept giving us different documents, and we started asking a lot of questions,” Thoming said.
School board held a meeting last week to decide whether it should revoke the Acacia schools, but Tri-Valley Learning Corporation gave the district a new set of financial records to inspect.
Thoming says the group gave the board a document containing approximately 2,000 pages, and it’s taking days for them to sort through.
If the schools shut down, Thoming says more than 500 students have no place to learn starting in August.
CBS13 made several attempts to speak to the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation Wednesday but received no response.
The board is set to discuss the final fate of the schools July 29.