Morning Report: 3 Loopholes Exposed by the A3 Charter Scandal - Voice of San Diego

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Morning Report: 3 Loopholes Exposed by the A3 Charter Scandal

A3 charter school
District Attorney Summer Stephan discusses the indictment of several people tied to an alleged scam involving the charter school management company A3. / Image courtesy of NBC San Diego

An explosive indictment filed last month in San Diego against A3, a mostly online charter school network, alleged two men and a handful of employees managed to siphon $80 million of public education funds into “consulting” companies they controlled.

But that case also exposed three major vulnerabilities in how the state tracks attendance and allocates funding.

Will Huntsberry reports A3 officials were sometimes able to collect 120 percent of the funding available for each student enrolled — either by transferring the student to a “sister charter” or committing attendance fraud. Prosecutors say the charter network also presented wildly inaccurate information to the state about instruction expenses in order to receive full funding for their schools.

Without more robust oversight, Huntsberry reports, other bad actors could exploit the same loopholes.

Years After Unanimous Approval, Downtown Bike Lanes Are a Reality

The city of San Diego began installing protected bike lanes along 6th Avenue and Beech Street last week, causing what some news outlets have described as “chaos and confusion” for downtown commuters.

KUSI’s Dan Plante said last week, “Here we go again, bike lanes over cars. Trying to get people out of their cars and into their bikes.”

But Plante doesn’t realize he’s years late to a non-story. The new bike lanes were approved years ago. The City Council unanimously approved the plan for nine miles of protected paths in 2016 as part of the Downtown Mobility Plan. At the time, it united the left and business-friendly groups, winning support from the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Partnership, along with environmentalists and bike activists, and the city began implementing it last year when it installed bike lanes in East Village that haven’t hurt businesses, impeded drivers or generated much controversy at all. The next phase of protected bike lanes is expected to take three years to complete and will include bike lanes along State Street, Park Boulevard and several other major streets.

A city spokesman said the new lanes will look and function like the ones currently on J Street with paid parking machines, rather than meters, for adjacent street parking.

The Con Is Upon Us

In other downtown news, Comic-Con has officially started and there are plenty of guides to help you decide on what to see and do around town.

Del Mar Gun Show Is on

The Crossroads of the West Gun Show is scheduled for Sept. 28 and 29 at the Del Mar fairgrounds, NBC 7 San Diego reports, after a judge last month ordered the fairground to reinstate the long-running show. The fairground’s board had suspended the event last year.

In April, a bill written by Assemblyman Todd Gloria that would ban gun and ammunition sales at the fairground passed the state Assembly. The bill is now working its way through the state Senate.

  • Meanwhile, horse racing season began Wednesday in Del Mar, amid heightened scrutiny on the sport in general and in Southern California specifically following a spate of horse deaths at the Santa Anita race track, as KPBS reported. Nine horses died at Del Mar last year, down from a recent peak of 23 in 2016.

Join Us on Reddit

VOSD reporter Maya Srikrishnan will be doing a Reddit AMA Thursday at 12 p.m. PDT. Ask her anything about her recent reporting trip to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, or about her reporting on the San Diego-Tijuana border.

You’ll be able to find the conversation here.

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Megan Wood and Andrew Keatts, and edited by Sara Libby.

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