Audit finds closed Kansas City charter overpaid $4.3M

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A state audit has found that a Kansas City charter school was overpaid about $4.3 million in the two years before it closed because administrators inflated student attendance.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway said Friday that Hope Academy reported a 97 percent attendance rate when the actual rate was about 32 percent. The audit also found that students received credit for classes in which they weren't participating and for unapproved activities outside of the classroom.

The school operated from 2009 to 2014.

"Hope Academy was intended to serve as a second chance learning institution for students who were working to make a positive change in their lives," Auditor Galloway said. "Instead, due to the disorganization, manipulation and fraudulent practices by the academy's administration, this opportunity is no longer afforded to these students, and Missouri taxpayers have been defrauded out of millions of dollars that were intended to educate our students."

When the problems were identified, the state began withholding payments, reducing the amount the school was overpaid to $3.74 million.

Galloway provided a copy of the audit to the Missouri State Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The agency didn't immediately return a phone call from The Associated Press.

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