Atlanta charter school considers closure after alleged theft

Financial mismanagement and the alleged theft of more than $600,000 from an Atlanta charter school threw the school into a financial pit too deep to scale, school officials say.

At a board meeting Thursday, the board of Latin Academy will consider closing the southwest Atlanta charter school at the end of this school year.

The closure would leave hundreds of students looking for new schools and staff members searching for new jobs.

But the school had problems beyond financial solvency, and was put on probation this fall by both Atlanta Public Schools and the state Department of Education. The school wasn’t contributing to the state’s teachers pension fund on time or complying with laws protecting children with disabilities, according to state and district records. And a new chief financial officer seemed confused about state audit requirements.

In July, Latin Academy’s board reported that more than $600,000 was taken from the school through ATM withdrawals and to pay for dinners, non-work-related travel, bonuses to employees and “personal entertainment at local night clubs,” according to a police report.

Chris Clemons, the school’s founder, was one of two staff members with access to the accounts, school officials said. Neither staffer is currently employed by the school. A police report names Clemons as a suspect.

The school is one of three started by Clemons. The two others are overseen by the Fulton County school district. Clemons is also being investigated in connection with the case of more than $350,000 missing from those schools.

>>Read the full story on MyAJC.com

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