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Fulton Science Academy MS Audit Reveals Many Problems

An audit prepared for the Fulton School System shows conflicts of interest, lack of safety procedures for students on international rips, immigration issues and poor bookkeeping. Many Sandy Springs students attended the Alpharetta school.

 

An audit of raised enough questions that the Fulton Superintendent of Schools is planning audits of its sister schools, Fulton Sunshine Academy and Fulton Science Academy High School.

Superintendent Robert Avossa presented the audit report to the Fulton School Board on Tuesday, telling board members this summer they need to discuss how to proceed with relations with all county charter schools.

Read the entire report to the school system, and the letter of introduction from the superintendent to the school board that accompany this article.

Avossa said in his presentation and a letter to the board that the audit of the school–which remains a Fulton charter school until June 30, 2012–raises several concerns, including:

  1. Inappropriate vendor relationships, self-dealing, and conflicts of interest
  2. Concerns regarding the $19 million construction bond
  3. Lack of appropriate safety procedures for students during international field trips
  4. Poor security practices related to background criminal checks for staff
  5. Federal immigration issues related to staff
  6. Poor record and bookkeeping
  7. The lack of cooperation by FSAMS with the audit

Prior relationships with Grace Institute, which Principal Kenan Sener and Executive Director Ali Ozer had been board members, were cited as a problem. And the school's governg council's failure to advertise for bids when it again contracted with the company in Fall 2011 was another problem.

The payment of immigration services for spouses and employees of the elementary and high schools without compensation from them was another problem cited.

"How did this happen?" asked Catherine Maddox, the District 6 board member. "Over time, they've been a charter in Fulton for 10 years, and tis is really just a snapshot of the last couple of years. How did this oversight happen or not happen?"

Avossa said the primary responsibility for oversight for all charter schools lies in the governing councils at these schools.

"That's why the conflict of interest is so critical. The very people responsible for overseeing these items have been shown to be in conflict of interest time and time again in this audit," the superintendent said. While the Fulton School Board can do things to mitigate the problems, "the real accountability lies at the local governance council. That's a primary concern."

jim derrick June 08, 2012 at 02:15 AM
"Ask someone at the school, get information correct...geez..." As I understand, it is that part of the problem that Fulton County can't get correct or complete information from the school. The money they are spending is everyone's tax dollars so this should be examined thoroughly. My problem is I can't tell if a) there is some sort of vendetta against the school or b) the troubling issue that they are wasting money by dealing with insiders on their spend. This is the real problem item... is FSA channeling money to insiders and Friends of FSA improperly? This is what the FSA people have not explained to my satisfaction as of yet. This is part of the Gulen philosophy to work with friends on your contracts and spend... I don't think we need to worry about the influence of Mullahs on children. The importing of Turkish nationals to teach is also an issue as we do not know the whole story there either. With American teachers being laid off and college students unable to find jobs shouldn't we try to find citizens to teach at FSA. If these questions can be answered satisfactorily then God Bless. If not, then Fulton Science Academy should be a private school free to make their own decisions.
HUGO SANCHEZ June 08, 2012 at 06:29 AM
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) link http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/fpco/ferpa/index.html FCS or IAG leaked the student name to the media with FSAMS report. Please read below; Schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance. However, schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow parents and eligible students a reasonable amount of time to request that the school not disclose directory information about them. Schools must notify parents and eligible students annually of their rights under FERPA. The actual means of notification (special letter, inclusion in a PTA bulletin, student handbook, or newspaper article) is left to the discretion of each school. For additional information, you may call 1-800-USA-LEARN (1-800-872-5327) (voice). Individuals who use TDD may call 1-800-437-0833. Or you may contact us at the following address: Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202-8520
Peter S. June 08, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I don’t think there is a serious issue with FSA, its management and relationship with its vendors. But it’s so apparent that FCS has real issues with FSA so they worked with third party legal firm which they arranged and paid 39,000 tax dollars (almost half of the visa processing fee). If this audit is really terrible, law enforcements would have been reacted so far. What’s wrong with immigrant issues? We are in the middle of North Fulton area, surrounded by the High-Tech companies. They hire many international people from all around the world. Why? Because they can’t find qualified work force that they need. Those people who are working with work visas make our country stronger and stronger every day. Why those foreign teachers can’t work for our kids to educate our kids for those who will be the scientists and engineers of the future? Just like another company in North Fulton, of course FSA may hire international people as FCS did in the past. Maybe we are forgetting one thing: We have to be better than today to have a stronger future. The other thing is FSA Vendor Relationship chart at the end of the document. I don’t think there is a connection between the Gulen / Gulen Movement and Turkish businesses in Turkey. Persistently, media is pulling the Gulen and the Movement next to the successfully operated charter schools, and mention them all together. Even GBI declared that there is no connection between Gulen Movement and FSA. Why is this obsession then?
HUGO SANCHEZ June 08, 2012 at 09:06 PM
Fulton Science Academy 3.3 million dollar budget BASIC MATH 101 Fulton County School's FY13 Budget ===== 1.1 billion for 90,000 student Fulton Science Academy FY12 Budget ===== 3.3 million for 500 student Fulton County Schools Spend $12,000 per student annnd they 33 millon deficit Fulton Science Academy Spend $6,600 per student annnd they surplused $100,000 soooooo who should be aduited ??????
Terry June 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM
Couldn't have said it better Hugo. FCSS actually spends millions in visa fees themselves and yet they are angry that FSA does it too? Makes no sense to me except that they have something against Turkish people. As far as the vendor relationships go, FSA went through the proper procedures and were cleared to use the vendors they did BY FULTON COUNTY LAWYERS. There is documented proof on the FSA website links they have (I can't remember the exact item, but it is there). FCSS actually has more of an issue with self dealing than does FSA. Avossa is guilty of the very thing he accuses FSA of and sits on a board that has a relationship with a vendor FCSS just signed a rather large contract with...

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