County Schools Superintendent Alejandre Seeks State Audit Of Oxford Prep Academy

San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre has called for a state audit of Oxford Preparatory Academy.
Oxford is a charter school that has been sponsored by the Chino Valley Unified School District since 2010. Oxford was founded by Sue Roche, who as principal at Rhodes Elementary School in the Chino Valley Unified School District in the early 2000s saw the students she supervised achieve the highest scores in the district on state-administered academic tests. She expanded upon her successful formula, and Oxford for five years benefited from her guidance. For four of Oxford’s first five years, students there had the best academic performance of any of their counterparts in San Bernardino County. Indeed, Oxford was so successful that the Capistrano Unified School District in Orange County allowed Oxford to set up a charter school there.
But last year, after being lionized as one of the regional leaders in education, Roche sought to cash in on her success, resigning as the executive director of Oxford Preparatory’s corporate entity and promoting. prior to her leaving, Barbara Black to that position. Roche simultaneously created a
for-profit entity, Edlighten Learning Solutions, in which she is the central figure and prime mover. Then, apparently at Roche’s direction, Black orchestrated having Oxford Charter Academy enter into a contractual arrangement that would have paid Edlighten $1.5 million to, essentially, employ Roche as the school’s contract administrator/executive director.
When Chino Valley Unified’s Superintendent, Wayne Joseph, who had been a key Roche backer instrumental in convincing the district to proceed with the original charter for Oxford in 2010, recognized what Roche had done, he publicly accused her of “arrogance, overreach and greed” by employing “machinations” to cynically manipulate the academy’s reliance on consultants to enrich herself. Joseph then recommended that Chino Valley Unified not renew Oxford’s charter beyond 2015-17. The school board complied with that recommendation.
Oxford appealed that decision to the San Bernardino County School Board, in so doing ending its relationship with EdLighten. But the county board refused to entertain the petition. Oxford is now asking the state school board to sponsor it and keep it running.
On August 5, Alejandre wrote a letter signaling his call for an audit. “The audit is for purposes of investigating allegations of fraud, fiscal mismanagement and conflicts of interest in the governance and operation of Oxford Preparatory Academy-Chino,” the states. Alejandre said misgivings about what has happened with the charter school have been voiced to him by “various sources inside and outside Oxford Preparatory Academy-Chino.” He said it was his intent to conduct the “audit for purposes of resolving allegations of unlawful management and spending of public funds by those operating Oxford Preparatory Academy.”
The audit is to be conducted by the state’s Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team.

Leave a Reply