Complaints that The Classical Academy's insular community created an environment where racism and religious intolerance were allowed to go unchecked raises questions about whether the charter school is welcoming to all students, according to a report released Friday.
The report to the Colorado Department of Education, triggered by parents' complaints, also found fault with the school's accounting practices, noted possible conflicts of interest with administrators who run a charter-school consulting business on the side and said the school failed to properly respond to allegations of sexual and physical assaults and bullying.
It concluded that while the school has high academic achievement, the "investigation revealed major areas of concern about management, safety and security of students."...
The CDE paid independent consultant James Sauls, of Colorado Springs, $9,500 to look into allegations made against the TCA by parents who said they turned to the state because the school and Academy School District 20 ignored their issues. TCA is a D-20 charter school with about 2,900 students on three campuses...
Friday's report said TCA failed to follow procedures regarding reports of sexual and physical assaults. In the Reece case, the report said, there was no evidence that an in-house investigation had been conducted, as school officials claimed. The police investigation was inconclusive, the report said...
[TCA board President Matt Carpenter] and [school principal] Hyatt said they both were aware that chief financial officer Doug Hering and high school principal Peter Hilts started a charter-school consulting business, Advantage Insights Consulting Network LLC, in December 2007.
The report questioned whether TCA should have paid for their travel to charter school conferences that might have benefited their business.
Hyatt said he sent them to conferences for the benefit of TCA and it was appropriate for the school to pay. He said sometimes he and other staff attend such conferences as well.
The report also said the two had used school equipment to print business cards, but spokeswoman Susan Tillotson said TCA was reimbursed within the last month for those costs. She didn't know when the cards were printed.
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The Classical Academy
“Special report by state levels criticisms at TCA.” The Gazette (CO); May 08, 2009
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