Two local charter schools, East End Community Heritage School in Bond Hill and W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Over-the-Rhine, are on a watch list" to be shut down due to poor academic performance.
DuBois is supposed to close this month…
The W.E.B. DuBois Academy once held Ohio’s top academic rating of “excellent.” It made headlines for a different reason, though, when its founder, Wilson Willard III, was convicted in November 2008 for using public money to renovate his home and charging for students who weren’t enrolled. He is serving a four-year prison sentence. He and the school owe the state more than $738,000...
FORMER SCHOOL LEADER GETS 4-YEAR SENTENCE FOR THEFT, January 8, 2009, WLWT.com (OH)
CINCINNATI -- A former school leader is going to prison for stealing money from the school.
In November, Willard Wilson admitted defrauding the WEB DuBois Academy charter school of more than $15,000.
Prosecutors said Wilson falsified invoices to reimburse school employee Andrea Peterson for clerical work never performed and overbilled the Ohio Education Department for students who weren't enrolled at the school.
Wilson pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and two counts of tampering. He was sentenced to four years in prison.
Peterson, who pleaded guilty to one count of theft, received five years probation.
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ONGOING SPECIAL AUDIT OF W.E.B. DUBOIS ACADEMY RESULTS IN INDICTMENT, October 24, 2006, US Fed News Service
The Ohio State Auditor issued the following news release:
A former charter school superintendent was indicted today by the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office as a result of an ongoing special audit and investigation by Auditor of State Betty Montgomery.
The Auditor of State's Office had initiated the regular annual audit of the W.E.B. DuBois Academy (Hamilton County) in 2005 when a complaint regarding possible fraudulent activity at the academy was received. Further investigation by the Auditor of State's Office into the complaint uncovered fraudulent activity and led Montgomery to open a special audit. Wilson H. Willard, former superintendent at the academy is accused of using public money from the academy for personal use and inflating student enrollment numbers…
Willard is accused of using public money in the amount of $24,000 from the academy to finance remodeling at his private residence and he is accused of taking an additional $20,000 through a series of unauthorized money transfers. He is also accused of inflating student enrollment numbers submitted to the Ohio Department of Education in the amounts of $111,000 in the 2003-2004 school year and $209,910 in the 2004-2005 school year. Specifically, Willard's indictment lists:
* Six felony counts of theft (all fourth degree felonies).
* Two felony counts of unauthorized use of property (both fourth degree felonies).
* Two felony counts of tampering with records (both third degree felonies) in relation to inflated student enrollment.
* Two felony counts of telecommunications fraud (both third degree felonies) in relation to inflated student enrollment.
Willard faces a possible 23 years in prison. Montgomery's special audit of the academy will remain ongoing given facts uncovered which require further investigation. Her office has been working closely with the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office as well as the Cincinnati Police Department.