POINT LOMA — The founding principal of Explorer Elementary Charter School spent thousands of dollars on business meals, wine and dog treats over the last two years, expenses on her credit card that were covered by taxpayers.
The Watchdog obtained two years of statements and expense reports under the California Public Records Act for former Principal Jill Green, who resigned April 27.Green, who earned $110,277 annually, said concerns over her expenses were raised by the charter’s governing board before her resignation, and she maintains none of the charges were for personal use. The Watchdog totaled her expenses of $37,868 from April 2009 through March 2011...While Explorer Elementary is a part of San Diego Unified and submits annual budgets to the district, the finances are handled through a partnership with the San Diego-based High Tech High charter system. High Tech High’s credit card agreement, signed by Green, bans alcohol and gift card purchases for employees, but permits meal purchases within professional development groups or those charged out of business necessity.Kay McElrath, chief financial officer for High Tech High, signed off on Green’s expenses and declined to comment when contacted by The Watchdog...In June, the Explorer school’s board strengthened its expense policies, and board Chairwoman Margaret Egler said the board treasurer will now review the principal’s expenditures on a quarterly basis...While alcohol purchases by public schools are banned under state law, charter schools operate under a “mega-waiver,” exempting them from most state laws governing public schools in the California Education Code. They are bound by the Charter Schools Act, which does not address alcohol purchases...Green signed a separation agreement in late April, awarding her $59,000 in salary payments through Oct. 28 and other compensation. Board members did not disclose the agreement right away, leading parent Alison Patton to raise questions about open-meetings law compliance.“Prior to the ratification by the board on June 7, 2011, the agreement was not a public document and was not subject to disclosure under the Brown Act or any other statute,” Andrea Sexton, the school’s attorney, wrote on Aug. 10 in response to Patton.One trustee, Tiveeda Stovall, resigned from her post at the June board meeting, saying she was not sure if the board appropriately reported out its action from closed meetings held before Green’s departure. Stovall could not be reached for comment...
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Explorer Elementary Charter School
“Principal spent tax money on wine, dog treats; Explorer charter has since added oversight of credit-card spending.” San Diego Union-Tribune / SignOnSanDiego.com (CA), 04/27/2011