Did he ever speak to anyone at the NJDOE? Did they ever try to get clarity from the IRS? All it would have taken would have been one letter saying: "You don't have to file as a non-profit," and this entire thing would have gone away.
It's amazing to me that LEAP had its status revoked in 2010, but their problems are coming to light only now - especially since Education Commissioner Chris Cerf attended the opening of their new STEM building this past fall:
There's Cerf right next to LEAP founder Gloria Bonilla-Santigo, who is now accused by a former employee of using LEAP staff for her personal benefit.
Where have Cerf and the NJDOE been all this time? How could they have let these problems fester at LEAP while publicly supporting the school? Where is Chris Cerf's accountability in all this?
Or was that not an issue, because LEAP's anti-union, pro-merit pay history makes them a favored charter in the NJDOE's eyes? It certainly seems as if LEAP thinks NJDOE is going to overlook its troubles:
This is LEAP's second attempt at getting the plan approved in time to open for the 2014-15 school year. The state denied the proposal in April because of the state's investigation into LEAP's mismanagement of federal Title 1 funds. The school has since repaid $136,368 it used on non-allowable expenses in 2009-10.Oh, well, that's that, then, yes? All you have to do is pay back the money when you get caught, and everyone goes on their merry way. How lovely...
Why would LEAP want to expand anyway? Shouldn't they get their house in order first before they attempt to grow? Well, there's a clue at the end of this article from another charter operator:
Aha! See, little community-run charters like Emily Fisher and Paul Robeson just don't bring in the big donors like KIPP and Success. If you want the BIG money, you gotta think BIG!
Because it's all for the kids...
Accountability begins at home.