Steve Hinnefeld has an update on the Indiana Virtual School / Indiana Virtual Pathways situation. The update seems to be that nothing has yet happened (at least publicly) in terms of prosecuting those responsible. The Indiana State Board of Accounts issued a special report on the “Indiana Virtual Education Foundation, Inc. d/b/a Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy” reflecting its findings that (as Steve summarizes it): “state funds were misappropriated through ‘malfeasance, misfeasance, and/or nonfeasance.’ It said Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy inappropriately received more than $68.7 million by misrepresenting the number of students who were enrolled in the virtual schools. They spent more than $85.7 million with vendors who were connected with school officers or employees but failed to provide appropriate paperwork, according to the audit.”
Of some of the shenanigans involved, Indiana Chalkbeat reported:
Five years after two students moved to Florida, they reappeared on enrollment records for Indiana Virtual School and its sister school.
And nearly every one of the more than 900 students kicked out of Indiana Virtual School and its sister school in the 2017-18 school year for being inactive were re-enrolled the next school year, included in per-pupil funding calculations that netted the two online schools more than $34 million in public dollars last year.
These were among the ways that Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy allegedly inflated their enrollment to at least twice its actual size, according to the findings of a state examiner’s investigation released Monday.
Jonathan Weinzapfel, the unsuccessful candidate for Attorney General had pledged a criminal investigation. Todd Rokita, the successful candidate, has been more non-committal. His office stated, ““We are thoroughly reviewing the report and performing the necessary investigation to diligently pursue the charged parties.” The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office indicated that this would be a federal matter (which strikes me as a little odd, but maybe I don’t know the nuances.) The feds won’t confirm or deny anything. So, it could be that the shit will be hitting the fan eventually but the gears of justice are grinding slowly.
Meanwhile, the Indiana General Assembly remains bullish on charter schools. Per Steve, “Speaker Todd Huston said he expects legislators to change the law so virtual schools get just as much state funding as schools that provide instruction in person.” When it comes to “school choice,” the Indiana General Assembly is like a quack doctor. Having diagnosed traditional public schools as sick, it’s prescribing leeches. And when the leeches don’t seem to do anything good, its conclusion is that it simply hasn’t applied enough leeches.
The diagnosis from the Indiana General Assembly isn’t that traditional public schools are sick and can fixed. It’s that they should be put out of business and the sweet, sweet nectar of tax dollars should be redirected to their donors.
Gary Gray says
NVR (Never Vote Republican)
Paul K Ogden says
I’m dumbfounded by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. Even if just federal money were involved, it could still be prosecuted at the state level.
I’m a big supporter of charter schools. But a full-time virtual charter school? Yeah, I just don’t buy those work.
“I can neither confirm or deny the existence of a federal investigation.” – Sounds like a bad line in a cop show. Steal 68 million and no one ever goes to jail.
Oh why oh why did my parents have to teach me about morality!!! AGHHHHHH!!!!
Pet Peeve – tens of millions of dollars – I have heard or read this statement at least 100 times. Can’t they just say 90 or whatever million dollars.