Capital Preparatory Charter High School

Capital Preparatory Charter High School has surrendered its charter and is under investigation for financial mismanagement and a range of violations by the New Jersey State Police, a state Department of Education spokesman said yesterday.

The Grand Street school had been placed on two consecutive 90-day probationary periods before it gave up its charter May 2. It will close at the end of the school year. Because Capital Prep chose to surrender its charter rather than have it revoked, it cannot appeal, DOE spokesman Alan Guenther said.

In addition to the financial problems, visits to the 329-student school by DOE staff “revealed a weak educational program, lacking in rigor and not meeting the goals set forth in the school’s charter,” Guenther said...

The DOE’s Office of Fiscal Accountability and Compliance (OFAC) had found problems including a $300,000 deficit, improper expenditure of funds, severe cash-flow problems, and violation of state travel policies, Guenther said.

The agency also found Capital Prep lacked a certified school business administrator and committed “gross mismanagement of public funds,” including bid violations, payments without adequate documentation, overpayment to consultants and employees being paid as vendors, Guenther said.

The investigation was spurred by an audit revealing the deficit, said Carly Bolger, director of the DOE’s Office of Charter Schools. Charter schools must have a balanced budget.

Bolger said the school violated travel policies last year and this year by spending $46,000 to stay at The Chelsea Hotel in Atlantic City for several meetings and retreats without obtaining a waiver from the DOE...

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