The deeply troubled Path Academy has been given a week to propose a solution to the multitude of problems plaguing the charter school and its operators, according to yesterday’s decision by the State Board of Education.
The State Board of Education says Path Academy overbilled state taxpayers by nearly $2 million, opened two satellite campuses without approval, and 100 percent of its students are classified as chronically absent.
Path Academy gained access to public education dollars because of its mission to help students with challenging life circumstances. Unfortunately, the school failed both its students and the state.
“This was a breach of public trust and a failure to meet the most basic fiduciary duties that all public schools have: to spend education dollars on their intended purposes and to the benefit of students,” said CEA’s Orlando Rodriguez, testifying at yesterday’s hearing. “This board cannot overlook the egregious lack of accountability at Path Academy by both its administrative staff and board of governance. As for the students at Path Academy, every effort should be made to provide them resources to graduate on time.”
Rodriguez also pointed out that the $2 million collected by Path Academy could have funded any number of worthy education initiatives overseen by the Windham Board of Education, such as
- expanding before-and-after-school programs
- expanding the Puentes al Futuro (Bridges to the Future) program
- increasing enrollment to the much-admired Compañeros dual-language program
- offsetting local property taxes for desperately needed renovations at the high school
Path Academy is not the first or only Connecticut charter school to violate the public trust and misuse taxpayer dollars. Legislators must take action to ensure transparency and accountability of all charter schools and hold them to the same standards as traditional public schools to ensure they follow the law.
State Board of Education Chairman Allan Taylor acknowledged that if they had taken a vote yesterday, the Board would have revoked Path Academy’s charter. The school has one week to submit a proposal for review. That proposal could be decided on at the State Board of Education’s next meeting, July 18, or earlier.