A state audit found more evidence of misused public funds at Greater Cincinnati’s largest charter school, including one example of salary overpayment and a range of inappropriate purchases of meals and entertainment. The school’s former superintendent and treasurer are already facing trial on charges of theft for previously discovered incidents.
The audit reviewed Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy’s (CCPA) fiscal year 2010 records, finding Stephanie Millard, the school’s former treasurer, was overpaid by $8,307. At the same time, founder and ex-superintendent Lisa Hamm used the school credit card for $8,495 in payments to the Cincinnati Bengals, Benihana Japanese Steakhouse, Wahoo Zip Lines, Omaha Steaks and Dixie Stampede.
CCPA responded to the audit by stating it has terminated the credit card and replaced it with two debit cards, which supposedly have controls in place to require approval and keep track of who’s using the cards and for what.
In March, the school fired Hamm and Millard, and the two former school officials were indicted on 26 counts of theft in office.
In June, another audit found CCPA had inappropriately spent $520,000 for various unnecessary expenditures, including gifts, weight loss products and a Justin Bieber concert.
CCPA enrolls nearly 1,200 students for kindergarten through 12th grade, with more than 95 percent coming from low-income households, according to Ohio’s school report card data.
The Ohio Department of Education gave the school’s K-12 building in the West End a “D” and its K-6 building in Madisonville a “B” for the 2011-2012 school year.
Like most charter schools, CCPA is set to receive more state dollars in 2014: $6 million, up 3 percent from the year before.