Where Is Celerity Charter Group’s Money Going?
Charter schools are the talk of the town in Los Angeles, with more than 100,000 L.A. students now enrolled at a charter school in lieu of traditional education.
One of these charter groups attended by these students, Celerity Educational Group, has been under fire for a few years now because of their shady financial dealings. In January the charter group had their offices raided by the FBI amid an investigation into their finances.
Because charter schools are exempt from some of the same laws that traditional schools are subject to, it makes regulating charters all the more difficult.
The LA Times has chronicled all of the Celerity saga in a glaring piece about CEO Vielka McFarlane, her misuse of funds, and the charter group as a whole.
Suspicions of financial abuse originated in 2012, when records that had been almost completely blacked out were sent to L.A. Unified per the district’s request. After finally receiving the records initially requested, district officials were shocked to see the charter group’s credit card used for expensive meals, travel expenses, shopping sprees, and other personal services used by the.
While LA Unified continued to question the financial dealings, McFarlane continued to expand and grow Celerity from an LA charter group into Celerity Global Development with schools in Ohio, Louisiana and Florida. Despite this, LAUSD continued to renew the charters. Until finally in 2015 the district had had enough.
LAUSD refused to allow Celerity to open more schools. Celerity then went to the L.A. County Office of Education, which refused to intervene. And ultimately the charter group appealed the state, which has allowed Celerity to continue its growth into a large behemoth.
This is certainly a major concern during this month’s LAUSD board elections, which could see a shift to a charter-majority on the board.
Read more about Celerity at the LA Times.