ATLANTA – Georgia Charter Schools Association is troubled to learn that the alleged theft by former Latin Academy School Leader Chris Clemons has grown to $1.3 million. If Clemons is found guilty, we believe he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The alleged theft that occurred at Latin Academy Charter School is an isolated incident and appears to be the work of one bad actor. That person has been charged for the crime and is currently awaiting trial.
For those quick to judge that this is a “cautionary tale” about charter schools, theft of this kind happens in every industry including: banks, government, businesses, and traditional public schools. There have been perennial instances of embezzlement, theft, misuse of public money, and just plain mismanagement of funds in non-charter public schools and within Georgia school districts.
Charter schools are already held to higher standards than other public schools in many respects. For instance, charter schools are routinely closed if they do not reach their performance or other goals, including financial management and sustainability.
The member schools that make up GCSA and the Georgia Department of Education initiated the call for legislation passed in 2016 by the Georgia legislature and signed by Gov. Deal to tighten the financial management for charter schools. Georgia House Bill 895 requires more fiduciary training for those who oversee charter school finances (including staff and board members) and separation of duties between charter school leadership and those in charge of financial accounting.
About Georgia Charter Schools Association
The Georgia Charter Schools Association is a nonprofit membership organization for Georgia’s public charter schools and petitioners. Our mission is to advocate for, foster and support autonomous, high-quality charter public schools throughout Georgia. We believe every child in Georgia should have equal access to a high-quality, transformative public education.
CONTACT: Michelle Wirth
Director of Communications
Georgia Charter Schools Association