EDITORIAL: Not one more year
The York City school board convened a special meeting Thursday, Oct. 19, to vote on an agreement to close Helen Thackston Charter School following the 2018-19 school year. The measure was approved unanimously 7-0. Wochit
The Helen Thackston Charter School board had another chance last week.
For the school to stay open through the 2018-19 school year, the board had to produce three years’ worth of overdue audits.
It should start packing up now.
The board already had agreed to close rather than face charter revocation hearings that surely would have focused on the school’s finances, among other issues.
According to Carlos Lopez, a former York City district superintendent who was hired as Thackston's CEO, the missing audits were a big reason for the board’s decision.
Attorneys advised it would be hard to justify a case without them, he said.
Yet, Thackston was allowed to keep operating — not just through the end of the current year, but for another school year.
That is, as long as the school could produce those pesky audits by Jan. 31, 2018.
On Tuesday, Jan. 30 — the day before the reports were due — the charter board held a special meeting to approve what it indicated were the missing audits.
Unfortunately, no one from the school would provide copies of the audits — or even describe what was in them — to the public.
It was a short-lived stalling tactic. Formal requests through the state’s Right-to-Know Law reinforced what we already suspected:
“We have not been able to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion," the auditors wrote for each document.
Each report noted a number of other problems, including missing personnel files and student records.
And lest anyone think this is just a local and state issue, the reports for school years 2014-15 and 2015-16 also note compliance issues with federal funding sources, including Title I grants and the National School Lunch Program.
One more year?
Of that management?
Oh heck no.