Oxford Prep Recovery Plan Makes Headlines

January 19, 2017 – Oxford Preparatory Academy-Chino Valley’s ongoing renewal efforts made headlines at the OC Register, Daily Bulletin, and San Bernardino Sun yesterday. The article provided a historical perspective on our renewal efforts so far and revealed details about the organization’s Recovery Plan shared by the Interim Director and Interim Managing Director at last week’s update meetings.

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin writer Beau Yarbrough highlighted our Board of Directors’ recent moves to ensure a brighter future for all Champions.

Oxford Preparatory’s recovery plan tackles the criticisms head on, addressing 20 points raised by the two audits as well as other complaints made about the board. The Oxford school board’s plan includes better internal financial controls, including:

• Requiring two executives to approve any expenditure of $10,000 or more

• Reviewing agreements with contractors to eliminate any self-dealing or inappropriate relationships between the schools and vendors

• Beginning the legal process to recover funds still controlled by Edlighten

• Replacing the board and ranking school executives with new people unconnected to Roche

• Taking measures to improve transparency

Making changes for the success of our Champions!

OPA has welcomed an entirely new Board, an entirely new organizational leadership team, and an entirely new business office team all to ensure that any perceived or real concerns surrounding OPA’s governance, fiscal controls policies, and procedures match the high standards we expect of our instructional program.

Based on issues identified in recent state and internal audits, our school has made significant changes, some of which are outlined below.

Executive Administration

Complete transition of organizational leadership

  • Severed ties with Oxford Prep’s founder
  • Replaced former Executive Director with Interim Executive Director
  • Hired Interim Managing Director
  • Key personnel changes per Board-approved vacancies
    • Managing Director
    • Chief Operations Officer
    • Chief Academic Officer

Board of Directors

Replaced the entire Board of Directors with individuals who do not have a history or relationship with previous, current employees, or former CMO

Business Office

Complete transition of Business Office

  • Hired New Coordinator of Business Services
  • Contracted out all back-office services to Charter Impact, an independent firm who specializes in charter schools
  • Coordinator of Administrative Services position vacated
  • Chief Financial Officer position vacated

Relationship Changes

  • Considering changing independent auditor
  • Considering consolidating legal representation

Transparency

  • Creating Fundraising Policy to ensure that all monies raised are properly tracked and used
  • Creating Academy Fund Committees to allow for site control and oversight
  • Conducting outreach meetings to provide transparency to our families
  • Providing information through multiple traditional and digital media outlets to allow transparency with all stakeholders
  • Posting Board Meeting audio recordings online

Conflict of Interest

  • Started the process for approving an Amended Conflict of Interest Code
  • Severed ties with former charter management organization
  • Reviewing all agreements with contractors to determine if there are self-
    dealing or other inappropriate relationships between vendors and OPA

Nepotism Policy

  • Approved new Nepotism Disclosure Policy to ensure any employee or vendor relationships defined as ‘nepotism’ is disclosed to the Board prior to entering into a contract or employment

Lack of Internal Controls

  • Conducted an internal forensic review of all financials dating back to 2012
  • Updated Business Expense Reimbursement Policy (Staff & Board)
  • Will conduct employee and Board member training on suspected fraud or abuse and conflict of interest and ethics
  • Forming an Audit Committee to oversee the annual and special audits during the 2016-17 year and thereafter

Failure to Disclose Related-Party Affiliates and Transactions

  • Requested that Oxford Prep’s auditor reissue annual audits due to hidden affiliated and/or related party organizations
  • Investigating a potential forensic review of public funds given to affiliated and/or related party organizations

Gift of Public Funds and Loans

  • Will conduct an independent full-scale forensic audit of all OPA accounts and transactions to provide recommendations for internal control improvement
  • Collaborating with legal representation to assess next steps in return of funds from Edlighten Learning Solutions to OPA

Diversion of Funds

  • Received initial reimbursement from Sue Roche and are in active mediation to determine future reimbursements
  • Eliminating practice of using SCRIP for any organizational use

Perceived Barriers for Families