By Tanu Henry and Joe W. Bowers Jr.
California Black Media
California State Controller Malia Cohen announced last week that she will chair a “statewide multi-agency task force charged with developing audit criteria and best practices for identifying and preventing fraud in charter schools.”
San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert Longstreth formed the task force after the state charged 11 defendants — including a school superintendent — for defrauding taxpayers of nearly $400 million by enrolling fictitious students in A3 Education, an online charter school, to collect state funds to educate each student.
Cohen says the leading defendants in the case, Sean McManus and Jason Schrock, have agreed to turn over all the assets of A3 Education and its subsidiaries to the state — and $215 million which will be put back in the “state’s coffers.”
“As the State’s chief fiscal officer and the office responsible for developing audit guidelines to be followed by auditors when auditing school district, I could not in good conscience allow this matter to proceed through the judicial system without offering my office’s assistance in drafting guidelines to detect and prevent a recurrence of this untenable situation,” said Cohen. “To do otherwise would be to neglect the confidence placed in my office to safeguard taxpayers’ dollars.”
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