Charter School Under Fire for International Student Fees
Livermore Valley Charter Preparatory is facing scrutiny for allegedly charging tuition fees to international students, an action that is illegal according to the state Education Code.
The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District sent a letter to Tri-Valley Learning Corporation CEO John Zukoski months ago about the 60 international students who pay more than $15,000 every year to attend the charter school.
But Zukoski says the fees and the program are legal, adding that the fees are reimbursements required by federal law.
"We're authorized to have exchange students and we're required to actually recover all of our costs," Zukoski said.
Charter schools are independently run, but are funded publically by tax dollars like other public schools. Zukoski says the money covers the cost of attracting students from abroad. He also noted that a lot of foreign students come from China
Chris Van Schaack, district superintendent, fears that the program could be a way to create a private sub-school within a public one.
"You can't run a private school at a public school that taxpayers pay for," said Van Schaack.
He also believes that the amount the charter school is charging students is a bit in excess. According to Van Schaack, the school's overall per-pupil allocation is about $11,000 per year.
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