A recently released report by the Counsel for the State Board of Accounts (SBOA) has revealed new information in the special investigation into the two Indiana virtual schools, Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy, that inflated their enrollment numbers to defraud the state out of millions of dollars. The new evidence indicates that the virtual charter schools received a combined $68 million in excess funds. Companies affiliated with the schools received another $85 million in extra state money. State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) had the following remarks on the new information uncovered in the investigation:
“This new information further reinforces the need for Indiana to require greater transparency and accountability in our virtual charter schools,” Sen. Melton said. “Last year, when it was discovered that these virtual schools had fraudulently inflated their enrollment numbers by engaging in a number of illegal actions, including reporting kids who were not actually enrolled in the school as students, I introduced legislation to hold those schools accountable. My bill, Senate Bill 183, would have put provisions in place to tighten the reign fiscally around virtual charter schools and put an accountability system in place, but that bill was never given a committee hearing.
“Now it has been disclosed that nearly 30 million more dollars than the originally reported $40 million was swindled from the state by these virtual schools. It’s unacceptable, and we must take action to prevent something like this from transpiring again. These virtual schools are literally stealing from taxpayers.
I call on the General Assembly to take the necessary steps to ensure that nothing like this happens again.
Every school in Indiana that receives state funding must be held accountable to taxpayers and must maintain complete transparency.”