Mavericks High of Palm Beach County

A Palm Beach County charter school got nearly $160,000 more in state education money than it was entitled to receive after overstating 2011-12 enrollment, a draft audit released last week by the school district’s inspector general claims.

According to the draft audit from Inspector General Lung Chiu, Mavericks High School in Palm Springs counted and was given funds for at least 56 students who did not attend the school at all during two 11-day “survey periods” last year required by the state Department of Education. The survey periods are used to establish enrollment figures on which the department bases its per-student funding to schools.

Mavericks, a West Palm Beach-based chain of seven Florida charter schools, offers live and online classes and caters to at-risk students. It’s perhaps best known for its president and chief development officer, Frank Biden, brother of Vice President Joe Biden.

Chiu’s office began investigating the school after a former teacher — Angenora Mechato — filed a lawsuit in April alleging that Mavericks fabricates enrollment data and that she was fired for refusing to falsify records. Two teachers at the Mavericks school in Homestead have made similar allegations in lawsuits. The Miami attorney for all three teachers, Dale Morgado, could not be reached for comment...

PALM SPRINGS — A former teacher at the new Mavericks High School in Palm Springs has filed a lawsuit alleging that the school falsifies enrollment records and fabricates student grades in classes the students did not take.

The lawsuit, filed by Angenora Mechato, is the third such whistleblower lawsuit to be filed by former employees of the chain of Florida charter schools. The chain is run by a for-profit management company based in West Palm Beach, Mavericks In Education Florida LLC...

Mavericks' chain of schools has come under some scrutiny and controversy in recent months. The company has been turned down in bids to open more schools in Hernando and Hillsborough counties, and in February, the Palm Beach County School District denied applications for three new Mavericks schools here in Palm Beach County. District staff had recommended the denial, citing concerns regarding how effective other Mavericks schools have been in raising student achievement.

Mavericks offers a "blended" learning model that caters to at-risk students who might have dropped out or be in danger of dropping out. According to the schools, students spend part of their time in a traditional classroom and part of the time working independently on a computer doing assignments.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The principal of the Mavericks High charter school in Palm Springs is not certified to teach in Florida, according to the State Department of Education.

Thomas Lockett runs a school that serves roughly 500 at-risk students and promises to help them earn enough credits to graduate. Yet he does not have a teaching certificate or list any teaching experience on his LinkedIn online résumé. Prior to joining Mavericks last year, he was an account executive for home health-care and pharmaceutical companies. He also served six months as a regional director for  Revolution Prep, a test preparation and education software company...

One former Mavericks employee, who spoke to the Pulp on the condition of anonymity, says Lockett does not have a background in education and relies on other staffers for help. "He's clueless," the employee says...


Anonymous said...

This organization dominates its "board." most of the so-called board members are friends of the management company and benefit financially. There is a definite absence of an arms- length policy. The school leaders are reprimanded for speaking directly to the board and are not allowed to speak directly to the board.

Principals, teachers and staff are fired or forced to resign when these policies are questioned. Very little oversight...I guess it pays to have the vice-president of the United States as your brother.

Anonymous said...

I have a bigger problem with g star school of the arts..if someone can call at 561 324 3740 i would explain in great detail...this is headlines please call me asap