by David Safier
If you've been reading BfA for awhile, you know I ran a series of investigative posts about the charter, Arizona Virtual Academy, which is one of a group of nationwide online schools run by K12 Inc. What I had found was that the school and others in the system were outsourcing student papers to India where the papers were graded, without parents or students knowing what was going on. The practice stopped, I'm proud to say, mainly because of my reporting.
Now one of their schools, Agora Cyber Charter School in Pennsylvania, is being accused of fraud by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It sounds like the school may have been indulging in what has become a classic scam run by shady charter school operators. You set up a company that does very little and pay it lots of money for its services. The taxpayers are robbed, less money goes toward students' educations and the owners and their cronies make off with lots of cash.
The department stated that "millions of dollars" are involved.
The school will keep operating while the investigation is ongoing, but the state will stop making payments to the school, because it fears more money will make its way into the crooks' hands that will never be returned.
The parent company, K12 Inc., isn't directly linked to the accusations at this point, but the story, which has been percolating for awhile, has just surfaced, so it's hard to say where the investigation will lead. I'll be watching for further developments.