Richard Allen Schools — the Dayton charter that is suing the state over allegations it misspent or misplaced $2.2 million of taxpayer dollars — announced on Wednesday it won national accreditation from AdvancED, a private nonprofit.
The accreditation of is a “mark of quality” recognized around the globe, said Carolyn Gasiorek, director of AdvancED’s Ohio office. During a two-year process, the schools underwent a review and site visit, but the agency did not “delve into the financial aspects of the school,” Gasiorek said.
Those finances are the target of Ohio Auditor Dave Yost issuing $2.2 million in findings for recovery on recent state audits. Allegations from the auditor’s findings included “booze, missing money, missing records and self-dealing” and overpayment to the managing company. The most recent audit, released on Nov. 6, found $452,281 was overpaid to that company, the Institute of Charter School Management and Resources, according to the state auditor’s office.
The Ohio Ethics Commission also was asked to investigate the former school director and her family’s ties to IMR.
Richard Allen attorney Edmund Brown said the allegations are “unsupported.”
“We believe that there is an intent to make an example out of the Richard Allen Schools and cast them in a negative light,” Brown said.
The schools enroll about 950 students at three sites in Dayton and one in Hamilton, according to a 2012 from the Ohio Department of Education. The students range from kindergarten to ninth grades.
They gained accreditation for the first time and will keep the status through June 2018. They are one of nearly 300 school in Ohio approved by AdvancED.
As part of the review and site visit, the schools were asked to identify what they do well and in what areas that can improve.
“The external reviews help them reflect on why they’re doing the things they do, what they’re doing and how effective it is,” Gasiorek said. “It’s a set of outside eyes looking in at their institution. There’s a lot of value to accreditation.”
The accreditation review documents are not released publicly.