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A Florida charter school scandal gets worse

In the you-can’t-make-up-this-stuff category: Do you remember the case of the charter school in central Florida that gave its founding principal a $519,453 payout in taxpayer money when it was forced to close because of academic failure? Well, it turns out, the school also paid more than $460,000 over five years to her husband, who resigned from its board in 2008 about the same time he was charged with soliciting prostitutes while serving as a sheriff’s commander. Really.

The Orlando Sentinel has all the details in this story, which also notes:

The payments to Steven Young appear to violate state law prohibiting public officers and employees from doing business with family members, according to legal and charter-school experts. The law states that no employee or officer may purchase services “from any business entity of which the officer or employee or the officer’s or employee’s spouse or child is an officer, partner, director, or proprietor.”


I wrote here about how how his wife, Kelly Young, received a check for $519,453.36 in taxpayer money after the district school board agreed to let the school voluntarily close rather than be shut down for poor performance. This Sentinel story said she also got thousands of dollars bimonthly — also at taxpayer expense — to finish closing NorthStar High School, which enrolled about 180 mostly at-risk students.

The Youngs, then, did mighty well at NorthStar, to the tune of some $1 million or more. Of, it is worth repeating, taxpayer money.

Incidentally, Steven Young was found guilty of three charges of soliciting prostitutes and lost his sheriff’s commander’s job in Orange County, where he is now a divorce attorney.

As a result of the Sentinel’s stories, Orange County Public Schools officials are investigating the payments.






Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · December 4, 2012

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