The former top administrator at a defunct downtown Minneapolis charter school has been charged with seven felony counts of misusing more than $300,000 in public money.
Kristin Laxton was accused of overreporting the number of students to bring the school extra money, using federal grants for purposes outside the law, and paying herself more salary and reimbursement than she was due.
The Hennepin County complaint filed late last week is one of the largest theft cases made against a Minnesota charter school. It accuses Laxton of three counts of theft, two counts of forgery and two counts of making false complaints to a public body. Much of the complaint is based on an investigation conducted by the state auditor's office, which sent its report to the county last fall under its responsibility to forward any matters involving misbehavior by public officials…
According to the complaint, the school was paid $238,170 more than it was due for the 2004-05 school year. The complaint alleges that Laxton inflated student counts both by reporting students whom auditors couldn't find on attendance logs and by reporting that students attended for longer than they did…
The redacted version of the auditor's report, made public late last month, suggests potential culpability by others for amounts they were paid for paychecks or other reimbursement to which they were not entitled. Peter Cahill, deputy county attorney, said the investigation into Chiron is continuing. The state's worst charter school scam involved Right Step Academy. A federal judge recently sentenced founders William and Shirley Pierce to prison time and more than $489,000 in restitution of state aid for their role in the fraud.
Chiron Charter School
FORMER CHARTER SCHOOL OFFICIAL FACES 7 FELONY CHARGES; September 6, 2006; Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN)
The report issued by the Minnesota State Auditor is @ http://www.osa.state.mn.us/reports/spi/2006/chiron_06_report.pdf