TEA TAKES CONTROL OF CITY'S LARGEST CHARTER SCHOOL DISTRICT, March 3, 2010, Brian Collister blog, San Antonio Express-News
…The city's largest charter school district is now under the control of the Texas Education Agency.
Dr. Jack Cockrill began work Monday as the state appointed conservator and will oversee the troubled district to make sure it spends your tax dollars properly.
I first uncovered problems at the school back in 2008 when I interviewed then Superintendent Ricky Hooker about his misuse of district funds (your tax dollars) for his personal use.
I uncovered Hooker was using his district-issued credit card to buy airline tickets for him and his wife for a personal trip, to purchases self-help books for an outside business he was involved in and a slew of other questionable expenses that appeared to have nothing to do with educating disadvantaged children…
Because I questioned those expenses, Hooker quickly coughed up a check for several hundred dollars to reimburse taxpayers for those expenses we could prove were not school related.
After my report, the TEA released an audit of the school's finances and confirmed what we found. It showed Hooker used the charter school's credit card for himself and a relative to travel, and for other questionable charges.
Hooker was fired by the board last June, the same board members who turned a blind eye to his misspending despite complaints from some within the district.
Now the TEA should look at canning the school board members that allowed the School of Excellence to fail taxpayers and students.
A San Antonio charter school superintendent was forced out of his position, partly because of what the News 4 WOAI Trouble Shooters first uncovered.
Ricky Hooker was the head of the city's largest charter school, The School of Excellence…
"There has been a separation between the School of Excellence and Mr. Hooker," said interim Superintendent Ernesto Tijerina. "Effective Friday, June the 11th. It is a personnel matter between the board and Mr. Hooker."…
But school board members who initially fought to keep Hooker, despite the problems, tried to spin the fact that they eventually had to show him the door. They released this statement:
"The Board of the School of Excellence appreciates the years of service from Mr. Hooker and wishes him well in his future endeavors. The TEA audit is ongoing, and consequently, we are not at liberty to comment until the audit is completed. However, we do want to make it clear that Mr. Hooker's departure is not related to the TEA audit."
Well, that may be somewhat true, because misspent money is not the only problem Hooker left behind.
The TEA also sent the School of Excellence this notice that its funding has been put on hold.
Turns out, the district has not filed its annual financial audit with the state. A move that could close the school…
SAN ANTONIO -- A year-long News 4 WOAI Trouble Shooters investigation comes to this -- more than $100,000 of your money was misspent at the School of Excellence in Education by then superintendent Ricky Hooker…
That's what an audit released by the Texas Education Agency found.
The audit also shows Hooker used the charter school's credit card for himself and a relative for travel and other questionable charges…
He paid back some of those charges after the News 4 WOAI Trouble Shooters caught him.
Also in the report, he used his district-issued cell phone for his personal business.
When we spoke to him last year about the allegations, he denied doing anything wrong.
"What I do know is this: There was never any intent to defraud anyone. I am trying to run a school, do I know everything about finance on the other side? No, I do not," said Hooker.
Hooker was eventually fired…
Ricky Hooker is now the principal at the E.L. Broady Academy.
E.L. Broady Academy wants to help you unlock your ability to earn a higher wage and achieve financial freedom by providing you an amazingly low-priced private school education that will earn you your high school diploma.
For $275 dollars or less, you can begin a personalized course of study that will put you back on the road to success.
- If you dropped out of high school, we want to help you.
- No matter how many credits you have, we can help you.
- If you failed your state mandated test, we want to help you…
SAN ANTONIO PASTOR ACCUSED IN SEX SCANDAL, November 7, 2010, News 4 WOAI (San Antonio, TX)