Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success

An Horry County charter school's board chairman declined to give the school's financial records to a parent, though the records are open to the public, according to state law.

Gail Baillargeon, parent of a fourth-grader at Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success charter school last year, said she was denied an opportunity to review the school's books when she requested a meeting with school financial officials to do so.

Bill Sammons, chairman of the school's board of directors, told Baillargeon in a letter that day-to-day financials of the school are not available for public review...

Bill Rogers, executive director of the S.C. Press Association, said the school's records are public.

Baillargeon said she twice requested in writing a time to meet with the school's financial committee to review financial records. The request was made at the school's Jan. 18 board meeting, as well as in an email sent to the board on the same day, according to copies she sent The Sun News.

She said in a telephone interview that she asked for a meeting because of concerns she had with financial management of the school.

Courtney Fancher, the school's principal and executive director, said she could not respond to an individual Freedom of Information Act request.

Baillargeon received a letter dated Jan. 26 from Sammons. In it, he said, "The day-to-day financials of Palmetto Academy are not available for public review; therefore, you will not be able to schedule a meeting with the Finance Committee to 'review the books' as you requested. One way that you may stay up-to-date on the PALS' financial happenings is by routinely attending Board meetings. Additionally, you may be reassured to learn that PALS uses an independent financial consulting firm, Kelley-Moser Consulting, for the management of all of the school's finances."

Rogers said the letter is "completely wrong." He said the school is a public entity and the financial records are open to the public.

Rogers said a written request to receive financial information does not have to say it is a FOIA request to be valid...


Fuji Smith said...

I know this site is dedicated to posting anything bad (perceived or real) about charter schools, but you could at least get the information correct. Gail requested that the administration and accounts (a paid consultant) sit down with her and go over the books line by line. This was an invalid FOIA request and the issue was taken to the school board where they found that PALS acted according to the law. All records were turned over to the school board and local newspapers that requested it without issue.

The Perimeter Primate said...

This site compiles stories about concerning situations which have appeared in the news. I then provide links &/or documentation to those articles which have been published elsewhere. Other than my research about the Fethullah Gulen charter schools, the information has been collected from other sources.

It might be best to take complaints about article content to the publisher of the original news piece.

Anonymous said...

this school, and it's administrator, are a hot mess. Embezzlement, falsifying test scores and firing the actual competent teachers are just the tip of the iceberg. Wait and see. I feel for the students that are currently there.

Anonymous said...

While I don't know of any embezzlement going on, I don't doubt it. I do know an administrator(married) and a teacher(married) were caught in an affair (with certain activities happening on school property) and both were basically given a slap on the wrist. It doesn't hurt that the administrator in question is one of the principle's best friends. I also know that the administrators from both the school and the attached preschool use the kitchen, its resources and staff for personal use. Most of the teachers and staff are treated like indentured servants by the principle who has definitely let what little power she has go straight to her head. The school board has been packed with the principle's friends, extended family and anyone they can control. When the voting slips for the school board are handed out every year most of the staff are told to vote for a specific person or in some cases administrators fill the sheets out themselves instead of having it completed by staff. Parents who happen to have a differing opinion from the administration are joked about and made fun of as soon as they leave the building. The mother of the principle of the school and director of the preschool (they're sisters) is mostly there on a volunteer basis but walks around(or mostly sits around) like she owns the place. Everything said to her by the actual staff is later reported back to her daughters as if she's some sort of undercover spy. Everything at the school is done at the last minute. And any sort of repair or installation is begged for on facebook first for a parent volunteer because the principle is too cheap to pay for it to be done professionally. So in response to the above poster: Yes the school and administrator are a hot mess.