Atlanta charter school could close after alleged theft

An Atlanta charter school could close at the end of this year due to potential insolvency school officials say was caused by the school’s founder.

More than $600,000 was taken from Latin Academy, a southwest Atlanta charter school overseen by Atlanta Public Schools, 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 founder of Latin Academy, was one of two staff members with access to the accounts, school officials said. Neither is currently employed by the school.

The Latin Academy board will meet Thursday night to vote on closing the school at the end of this year, board chairman Kaseem Ladipo said.

“We don’t want to have a school that is functioning but that is in jeopardy of not being solvent,” he said.

Atlanta Public Schools placed Latin Academy under probation this fall, months after learning about the missing money.

That decision was based on financial mismanagement and concerns about “compliance missteps” at the school, district spokeswoman Jill Strickland said in a written statement.

Clemons was also implicated in more than $350,000 missing from two charter schools overseen by the Fulton County school district. He has not responded to multiple messages seeking comment.

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