Closed Columbus Charter Schools Failed to Document $4 Million in Spending

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Columbus - Auditor of State Mary Taylor today released the financial audits of the now defunct Harte School and Crossroads Preparatory Academy. The reports indicate that the two Columbus charter schools – founded and managed by the same person – were plagued by financial mismanagement and poor record-keeping which resulted in more than $4 million in undocumented spending.

“The lack of proper financial oversight at these schools allowed the potential misspending of more than $4 million in public tax dollars,” Taylor said.

The reports indicate that school officials failed to:

  • Record purchases and other spending
  • Document receipts of federal charter school start-up money
  • Maintain any documentation supporting student attendance – a major factor in determining state foundation payments to community schools
On January 17, 2007, Taylor declared both schools “unauditable” due to the lack of financial documentation, which prohibited auditors from conducting a routine state audit. Two months later, state foundation payments stopped and both schools closed.

Taylor’s reports also suggest that the founder and board president of both schools, Anita Nelam, may have had an improper interest in a public contract. That issue was referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission for further review.

Copies of the complete audits are available online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.


The Ohio Auditor of State’s office is a leader in the accounting and auditing field, earning prestigious national honors from the Government Finance Officers Association, the National White Collar Crime Center and the National State Auditor’s Association.

Steve Faulkner
Deputy Press Secretary
(614) 644-1111