Tim King and Norm Donohoe, who ran a chain of taxpayer-funded charter schools across small-town Oregon from their headquarters in Clackamas, scammed the state out of $17 million and must repay that plus $2.7 million more, the state said in a court filing this week...

King and Donohoe, who were the director and president, respectively, of a nonprofit they named EdChoices, submitted false, incomplete and misleading records about how many students were enrolled in the schools and how they were spending the state's money, state prosecutors say in the complaint...

The pair opened and operated at least 10 charter schools that went by various and changing names, including Baker Web Academy, Estacada Early College and Sheridan AllPrep Academy. Most were launched under the name AllPrep. They existed under agreements with the school boards in Estacada, Sisters, Baker City, Sheridan, Burns and Marcola, but enrolled students from across the state in their online programs.

The state provided startup grants of up to $450,000 per charter school. The state Department of Educationalso paid about $6,000 a year for each student enrolled, relying on the charter school operators to document the number. The state now says those records were "erroneous, false and misleading."

Before starting AllPrep schools, King was a former teacher paid to create and run three North Clackamas School District charter schools: New Urban High, Clackamas Middle College and Clackamas Web Academy. Those schools are still operating, though King left in 2008.

The district discovered a trail of financial problems, including hundreds of thousands of dollars in questioned expenditures, only after his departure. The three schools agreed in 2009 to repay the district almost $400,000, a debt load that crimped their operations. But the state did not file a legal claim against King...

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