header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
55°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 19
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
Kirk vs. Gorn commander


| Wednesday, May 29, 2019
The Valiant Prep Academy website home page on May 29, 2019.
The Valiant Prep Academy website home page on May 29, 2019.

 

A grand jury in San Diego has indicted 11 people connected with 13 California charter schools, including Valiant Preparatory Academy, an online high school chartered by the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District, on multiple criminal charges.

Sean McManus, 46, Jason Schrock, 44, the CEO and president of A3 Education, which operates Valiant Academy, and nine co-defendants were charged with conspiracy, misappropriation and personal use of public money, financial conflict of interest and grand theft, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Wednesday.

McManus, an Australian, and Schrock, his Long Beach-based business partner, allegedly schemed to set up online charter schools for small school districts as a way for the districts to earn additional public funding, and defrauded California of $50 million in education funds, according to the indictment.

The two men also allegedly schemed to use bogus summer-school enrollments in the online schools that would boost the number of students enrolled and generate additional state funding that A3 Education collected.

Stephan said about 40,000 California students were enrolled in the charter schools as part of the scheme.

According to the indictment, A3 and other businesses affiliated with McManus and Schrock invoiced the 13 charter schools involved for at least $83.3 million, while the two men funneled public money into personal bank accounts and charitable trust accounts they controlled.

“These defendants engaged in a devious, systemic public corruption scheme on the backs of students, their parents and the public that over time diverted millions of taxpayer dollars into their own pockets,” Stephan said of the allegations.

If convicted, McManus and Schrock each face up to 40 years in state prison. Sentences for the other nine defendants if convicted could range from 4-11 years.

The San Diego County DA said her office investigated the case for a year, and more than 70 witnesses testified before the grand jury, which returned the 235-page indictment May 17.

A3 Education charter schools involved in the case included Valiant Academy schools in San Diego, Los Angeles and Santa Barbara; four CA STEAM campuses in San Bernardino, Sonoma and Santa Barbara; four Uplift California schools; the California Academy of Sports Science in Fresno; California Vanguard Fresno; three University Prep schools; and two California Prep schools.

Authorities expect all three Valiant Academy schools to close following the indictments. The Los Angeles Times reports the closing date is June 30.

On Wednesday afternoon, San Diego Judge Michael Smyth issued a $5 million bench warrant for McManus, believed to be in Australia but the owner of a California home he bought with proceeds from the scheme, Deputy DA Leon Schorr said. Schrock, who faces 62 charges, pleaded not guilty to all, and Smyth set his bail at $1.5 million.

The A3 Education indictments follow the closing of the Albert Einstein Academy for Letters, Arts and Sciences charter school in April 2018, though there’s no connection other than both schools were chartered by the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District.

Around 2015, according to Berkeleyside.com, the Los Angeles Unified School District sued the McManus-controlled Academy of Arts and Sciences, a traditional grades 9-12 high school also authorized by the AADUSD but located in Encino, for failing to provide mandatory notice to the district of its intent to open schools inside LAUSD boundaries. The case was reportedly settled, and McManus had to close three schools in June 2016.

According to CALMatters, suffered a loss in enrollments and subsequent state funding over a decade-long period, so the AADUSD began authorizing charter schools in a bid to collect additional oversight fees.

The district authorized as many as two dozen charter schools, many of which were located outside the district’s boundaries.

That prompted a legislative response, Assembly Bill 1507, co-authored by Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Agua Dulce. If passed, the bill would require brick-and-mortar schools to be located and operate within the same district that authorizes the school. (As a virtual school, Valiant would not fall under the proposed legislation.)

Read the complete indictment here.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


LOCAL SCHOOL LINKS
Related Content
LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
Monday, Jan 17, 2022
The William S. Hart Union High School District's Governing Board will hold its regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 19, beginning with a closed session at 5:45 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Jan 14, 2022
Drug Free Youth in Santa Clarita Valley will present a virtual workshop 6 p.m. Jan. 26 called "Suicide Awareness: Recognizing Signs and How to Get Help”.
Wednesday, Jan 12, 2022
Though the 2022 Santa Clarita Marathon, presented by Parkway Motorcars, has been cancelled, local elementary students are still encouraged to complete their training and finish the Final Mile Challenge.
Thursday, Jan 6, 2022
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent Tony Thurmond announced Wednesday the formation of a working group to address staff shortages being experienced in California schools.
Wednesday, Jan 5, 2022
Is your K-6 grade student registered for the Santa Clarita Marathon’s Final Mile Challenge, presented by Kaiser Permanente?

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 59 additional deaths and 30,081 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 61,584 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Wednesday COVID Roundup: Positivity Rates in Schools See Decline
Harbor Group International, LLC and Azure Partners, LLC  announced earlier this month, their joint venture for the acquisition of Jefferson Vista Canyon, a 480-unit, Class A apartment community in Santa Clarita.
International Property Management Group Acquires Local Apartment Community
The College of the Canyons Spring 2022 semester begins  Feb. 7, and those looking for the classes needed to upgrade their skills, or transfer to a four-year university, still have time to register. 
College of the Canyons: Now is the Time to Register for Spring Semester
A Santa Clarita man originally reported missing on Jan. 16 has been located, Sheriff officials said Wednesday. 
Missing Santa Clarita Man Found
The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce announced that they will be hosting a free PPE drive which will provide KN95 masks, surgical masks and hand sanitizer to local chamber members.
SCV Chamber Announces Free PPE Drive For Members
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the release of a Request for Proposals to solicit independent researchers to conduct the Aliso Canyon Disaster Health Research Study.
Public Health Calls For Independent Research Into Aliso Canyon Health Study
More than twenty years ago I led the animal control division for an agency in northern California, and at one point we received a series of complaints from students at a local community college regarding a fellow student’s emotional support animal (ESA).
Marcia Mayeda: Protecting Service Animals
1967 - Original airing of Star Trek "Arena" Episode: Kirk battles the Gorn commander (Saugus resident Bobby Clark) at Vasquez Rocks [watch]
Kirk vs. Gorn commander
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Tuesday 45 additional deaths and 22,688 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 60,980 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Tuesday Covid Roundup: Omicron Continues to Surge as ICU Admissions Rise in LA County
Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation is hiring. This summer, the department aims to hire over 250 new lifeguards to work at 30 aquatic facilities, all across L.A. County.
LA County Department of Parks, Recreation Seeks to Hire Over 250 Lifeguards
Due to L.A. County Department of Public Health restrictions and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the city of Santa Clarita "regretfully" is announcing the cancellation of the 2022 Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival, reported Santa Clarita PIO Carrie Lujan in a statement released to the press.
Santa Clarita 2022 Cowboy Festival Cancelled
With COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County at high levels, the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs (DCBA) will temporarily pause in-person services starting Tuesday, Jan. 18.
LA County DCBA Temporarily Pausing In-Person Services
Put your knowledge to the test with Winter Games Trivia on the second day of Winter Olympic Games Beijing 2022.
Feb. 3 Winter Games Trivia Contest at The Cube
The Santa Clarita Community College District’s Independent Citizens Bond Oversight Committee voted to accept the results of an independent audit confirming the district properly accounted for all bond expenditures in the 2020-21 fiscal year.
COC Citizens Oversight Committee Affirms Audits of College Bond Spending
Fred Gruchalla, a veteran of the Vietnam War, received the 2020-2021 Veteran of the Year Award from the Van Nuys/Reseda Elks Lodge 2790 on Jan. 10.
Fred Gruchalla, Veterans’ Advocate, Named Veteran of the Year
The Zonta Club of Santa Clarita Valley is now accepting applications for the annual Virginia Wrage Memorial Fund Scholarship. Deadline is March 30, 2022.
Zonta SCV Accepting Applications for Wrage Scholarship
A 7,383 square foot freestanding office building located at 28015 Smyth Drive in Valencia recently sold for $2,675,000.00 announced Executive Vice President Randy Cude and Vice President Matt Sreden of Spectrum Commercial Real Estate, Inc.
Smyth Drive Office Building in Highridge Business Park Sells for Over $2.6M
1899 - Martin & Richard Wood buy J.H. Tolfree's Saugus Eating House, rename it Saugus Cafe [story]
Saugus Cafe
Impulse Music Co., which is located at 21515 Soledad Canyon Road, Suite #120, is hosting an Open Mic Night free to all ages, on Wednesday, Feb. 2, from 6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Impulse Music Hosting Open Mic Night
The Santa Clarita Community College District's Board of Trustees will hold a virtual business meeting and public hearing via Zoom Wednesday, Jan. 19, at 5:00 p.m.
Jan. 19: COC Board of Trustees Business Meeting
The William S. Hart Union High School District's Governing Board will hold its regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 19, beginning with a closed session at 5:45 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 19: Hart School District’s Regular Meeting
Whether you’ve just finished an ice skating lesson, are watching a youth hockey game or want to take a break during a public session, The Grille at The Cube is the perfect place to unwind with a delicious meal or snack.
SCV’s Newest Dining Spot Opens at The Cube
The city of Santa Clarita's Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Jan. 18, at 6:00 p.m.
Jan. 18: Planning Commission Regular Meeting
LOS ANGELES (CN) — A lawsuit by two environmental groups to stop the enormous and controversial Tejon Ranch Centennial Project can continue, a Los Angeles County judge ruled Friday, despite a recent settlement in a related case.
Judge Advances Environmental Suit Against Massive Centennial Project
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: