Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy

CINCINNATI - Two members of a Cincinnati charter school are scheduled to appear in court Friday morning after they allegedly stole more than $148,000 in taxpayer dollars from school coffers.

In March, a grand jury indicted Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy Superintendent Dr. Lisa Hamm and contracted treasurer Stephanie Millard on 26 counts of theft in office, unauthorized use of property, tampering with evidence and tampering with records. The pair allegedly spent money from the school on trips to Chicago, sightseeing tours through California and Europe and a trip to Boston to see Oprah, Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost reported...

Among the trips that were part of the indictment included a $20,000, 10-day tour through California in a rental car with a hired driver, meals and hotel stays. Other details include a proposed trip to see Chicago charter schools where Hamm and other staff saw Tina Turner in concert, according to the report, and a trip to Europe with staff where Hamm was supposed to secure residency...

The investigation, and indictments, were the result of an anonymous tip sent to the Auditor of State's office in November 2006 and ensuing audits that occurred from July 1, 2006 through May 31, 2010. A special audit is ongoing...


beckaroo said...

Given that the very first sentence of this article was/is inaccurate, one might also expect the one-sided tone could be too. The two people charged were NOT due in court that day. The station had it wrong and were told at the time but they didn't fix their error. None of the other media outlets reported this story that day because it wasn't one.

I wonder why they don't mention the 100% graduation rate at this inner city school, or the 100% college acceptance rate. Where is mention of the huge parent group that has organized in support of their Superintendent and Treasurer? They're afraid this amazing opportunity for their kids will be gone if the Auditor has his way with this publicity stunt.

Where is mention that the team-building activities in question were Board-approved!?

They also don't mention that the auditor's office charged the school $500,000 (YES THAT'S RIGHT!) for their special audit! You heard me. They can find only $148,000 over a several year period to justify their 3+ year investigation (in a $7MM annual budget)... and they take more than three times that amount away from the students and teachers resources to pay for their own witch hunt. Something is broken here and it's not the school!!

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether or not she appeared in court on that particular Friday, the rest of this story is true. The facts as stated are true. Ms. Hamm fully believes the rules don't apply to her and 'her vision'. She treats people with disdain and is now reaping what she has sown. The true losers are the students who have, and continue to, receive a sub-par education. Her intentions may have been launched from a desire to truly improve the educational opportunities for at-risk, inner city students; however, she began to believe her own publicity and felt impervious to the law. Such a shame.

Unknown said...

A trip to Europe to complete your requirements for your mail-order PhD is not team building. Unless, of course, you were one of 'the team' and their children who went. The 'team', however, consisted of many more dedicated individuals than were included on that vacation. While a trip to KIPP may have been the proposed purpose, on paper, of the trip to Chicago, the Tina Turner concert and sightseeing on the Chicago River was the real objective.

100% graduation rate you -and she- claim? But of course! Teachers were pressured into letting students take final exams until they passed. Grades were scrubbed to ensure each and every student in the first graduating class of 2011 would indeed graduate.

100% college attendance? Not even CLOSE! As of today's date, less than 35% of CCPA's first two graduating classes are currently enrolled in a 4-year, 2-year, or vocational school. A far cry from that 100% touted by Ms. Hamm. Students were completely unprepared for the rigor of learning/studying at a college level. Suspend your belief that this is truly a college preparatory program. As an aside, shall we investigate the lengths to which Ms. Hamm (or other members of administration) assisted each and every student on the state standardized tests to achieve that excellent rating? A whole new can of worms for a different investigation.

As with the statistics for which she has been accused of tampering, Ms. Hamm and Mr. Mathews can spin the truth and make one believe that quack you just heard really doesn't belong to a duck.

Ms. Hamm was given the chance to plea-bargain this whole thing away. But in her usual and customary manner (read: arrogant), she has chosen to think only of herself. Lisa Hamm is a disgrace to the education profession and should never be allowed to ruin the lives of unsuspecting and trusting students (and their parents) ever again.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Hamm is arrogant and a disgrace to the teaching profession. She continues to do do dirt behind the scenes

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I am a staff member at CCPA. Ms. Hamm is an excellent leader and a true visionary. No matter what the haters say, the entire city block would be dust and thugs walking around like Detroit if it were not for her and what she has accomplished. Monies she used to as incentives or team building for travel or otherwise was not state money.It was money the school brought in and ear marked for certain purposes. She believes that quality staff are the key to success and she truly loves her staff and her students and would do anything to help them grow and succeed. The inner city can be a daunting place to work yet Ms. Hamm and others have chosen to serve this area.

Don't take Helen seriously that commented above. As you can probably tell she was fired from CCPA and has some serious anger because of it and her many personal problems. She was not performing as a teacher. She wanted to give kids assignments and then sit in her desk expecting them to learn on their own. This method does not work in the inner city. Ms. Hamm believed in her and thought she could grow as she did the other teachers, but Helen blamed her challenges on the students and the administration instead of dealing with her issues. She was constantly having classroom management issues and did not monitor students going in and out of her class at the high school. Students would leave her classroom and get into all kinds of trouble and chaos was all around the high school because of her. At one point students engaged in sexual activity in the bathroom because she had no idea where they were. This had never happened at CCPA before although it is likely common in other schools. We monitor our kids closely in all areas.

Students claimed they saw here giving oral sex to a security guard after hours sitting in her car. This caused all kinds of issues and a crazy investigation by administration.

Administration tried to help her grow and tried to support her as much as she could but Mr. Mathews could not tolerate her being at the school because of the havoc she caused at the high school.

Sorry Helen I was your friend at school but if you continue to discredit the school or the administration when we have all sacrificed so much we will discredit you. Move on and enjoy your life. You are newly married now and hopefully you have a new job where the kids are not as hard to teach as our kids were for you here.

This is a daily struggle for us and Ms. Hamm does not deserve your wrath or anyone else's wrath. She is a true patriot! We love her and support her. Pray for us and pray for her. Do not slander us or curse us. It will come back to you and all the other haters.

Anonymous said...

Chicago CTU teacher here (orginally from Cincy) take a look at the charter school movement in Chicago (UNO charters for example) its pure insanity. They are a complete farce, just another privatization scheme to make more money for "the haves". When these (d)eformers say "its about the children" reality its about $$$. Recently CTU teachers had to input roster "data" on a third party program made by Batelle for Kids, definitely player in the school reform game, and part of the Common Core standardization scheme to create these for profit date centers for storing student information when the school to low wage work as a grunt for a major corporation pipeline materializes.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie Millard is/was also the treasurer of Connections Academy of Ohio. Check the board minutes. A big operation that ships its money out of Ohio to the Baltimore HQ.

The non-profit business has been very profitable for the Connections Academy and the Baltimore executives. Pearson Education purchased Connections Academy for $400 million.

"Private equity firm Apollo Management LP is selling Baltimore online schooling company Connections Education LLC to U.K. publishing giant Pearson plc for $400 million, Pearson said Thursday, Sept. 14.
Apollo and Sterling Partners, the target's minority owner, will pocket nearly the entire amount because Connections Education has little debt, a person familiar with the company said.
The two PE firms evidently will turn a profit. In September 2004, according to a financial filing, they paid $12 million to buy the business from Educate Inc., a K-12 education services provider Apollo had purchased for $283 million the previous year."

Anonymous said...

Following up on the issue of the auditor being indicted. There is a lot of money in this business over $12 million in taxpayer funding. No bricks and mortar, low teacher salaries, and terrible results.

The latest report card.

Ohio Connections Academy.

Standards met
Standards possible

Letter grades
Standards met
Performance index
Value added (explained below)
Gifted student value added
Disabled student value added
Lower 20% value added
4-year graduation rate
5-year graduation rate

Perhaps Connections Academy should be listed as a school on your site?

Anonymous said...


Jimmie Hardin said...

You all have no idea what you are talking about. I was one of Ms. Hamm's students in her 4th grade class at another school before she became superintendent. She used the same methods that I am hearing about today and the trips we took were very educational and the tours consisted of seeing various national sites, not just lavish vacations the media is trying to make the public believe. Dr. Lisa Hamm's methods are the most hands on, effective, and the results are indisputable greatness. Also the trips were always funded by fundraising and donations that the students, including myself, had composed. She is a very great woman, teacher, and humanist. She took many unfortunate students, including myself, to church after school every Wednesday and Sunday in her own van using her own time and gas not taxpayers money. She was the best teacher I have ever had in every aspect hands down. So to you people talking down on her, SHAME ON YOU for saying these bad things about her without knowing any of the ACTUAL facts! Please contact me if you would like to know anymore about my experiences with Dr. Lisa Hamm, which a assure you are all nothing but good. I am 27 years old now and looking back have nothing but great educational memories with Lisa Hamm, and not one bad thing to say about her or her educational methods.

Unknown said...

I love Ms.Hamm I just googled her yo find out address for her and saw all this foolishness. She was my teacher in 3rd grade and I'm now 32 years old& I remember this lady! Her teaching methods are extremely amazing! He that doesn't sin cast the first stone! Everyone sins and has problems, ok she stole some money but some of your kids are smarter than a dam fifth grader because of this lady! She is probably more of a parent to your kids then to you are!

Unknown said...

I love Ms.Hamm I just googled her yo find out address for her and saw all this foolishness. She was my teacher in 3rd grade and I'm now 32 years old& I remember this lady! Her teaching methods are extremely amazing! He that doesn't sin cast the first stone! Everyone sins and has problems, ok she stole some money but some of your kids are smarter than a dam fifth grader because of this lady! She is probably more of a parent to your kids then to you are!