Parents protest at Salt Lake charter school: Academy's board stands behind administrator, despite parents' allegations. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 2010)
Dual Immersion Academy's board has thrown its support behind a beleaguered administrator who resigned earlier this week amid parents' financial mismanagement allegations.
At a meeting Friday evening, board members voted to reject DIA director Laurencio Peña's Wednesday resignation, saying his contract expires June 30 and they will renegotiate his employment then.
The board passed a resolution expressing support for Peña, who denied he has mismanaged the public charter school's budget.
Parents' statements about the school's budget are "exaggerations." Like all schools, DIA is feeling budgetary strains and must be careful with its money, Peña said.
The board's action angered parents. Earlier in the day, several dozen staged a protest at the school to highlight what they see as DIA's problems.
Parent Shannon Wilson was near tears Friday evening...
...Parents had called for Peña to resign, alleging that employee paychecks have been late, ineligible employees are on the school's health insurance program and that teachers too often must buy their own supplies, among other concerns.
Teaching assistant Carmen Thompson said teachers are afraid to voice concerns due to an "energy of control" from the administration.
The Utah State Office of Education also has received complaints about the school, said Marlies Burns, state charter schools director. Auditors have reviewed school financial documents and spoken with administrators and board members. Audit results likely will be announced next week…