Ga. charter school operator stole $1.2 million

Widespread corruption and wonky money business have a way, it would seem, based on overwhelming evidence, of following charter schools wherever they rise up.

An Atlanta charter school founder entered guilty pleas Tuesday in Fulton County Superior Court in two cases linked to thefts of at least $1.2 million, including money stolen from the schools he helped start, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

I mean, public schools have been accused of unethical business practices in Baltimore County, among other places. But it’s nothing like what happens when oversight gets relaxed in order to allow charter schools to meet the requirements of their charter: educating students who are somehow not served by traditional public schools.

And when school officials and leaders give in to corruption—a pathway much more likely with operators of charter schools, which don’t have the same accountability requirements as their public school cousins—the education of those students suffers.

“I am deeply, thoroughly, overwhelmingly sorry,” the paper quoted Christopher Clemons, 39, as saying to the judge. He was accused of, among other things, spending about $50,000 of that money at strip clubs. “I am responsible for what has happened. I take responsibility for my actions, and I know that I allowed my own unchecked ego to lead me on a ludicrous adventure that led to absurd results that left a lot of people hurt.”

A movie poster for Killing Ed, a documentary about corruption in one brand of charter schools

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Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.