Alleged Theft at NYC All-Girls Charter Network

Parents of girls at the Public Prep charter school network have been informed by officials that a senior member of the finance department has committed theft – to the sum of tens of thousands of dollars – using one of the business’s credit cards.

Parents were informed of the financial improprieties by a letter sent last week by Ian V. Rowe, the network’s chief executive, and Bryan Lawrence, the board chairman. They explained how they had discovered “financial irregularities,” but that all but $1,000 of the money would be recovered through insurance, writes Anna M. Phillips at the New York Times.

Rowe said:

“Just given the context of stories about charter schools and financial issues, we decided to be proactive and let folks know that this person has resigned.

“Believe me, I’m very upset that it occurred, but we did catch it, and the person resigned, and the schools are not affected.”

Public Prep runs three all-girls charter schools in New York. Two are based in Manhattan and the other is an elementary school in the Bronx.

While Rowe confirmed that Public Prep staff detected the irregularities in early January, he would not detail exactly how much was missing.

Rowe said that the network has passed the case on to the district attorney’s office and has asked them to investigate the suspected member of staff: Christina Garcia-Coleman, the network’s managing director of finance and operations.

Garcia-Coleman resigned earlier this month from her position at the network and from the boards of the Bronx elementary school and Girls Preparatory Charter School of the Bronx. She has also resigned as trustee from the Spence School, another all-girls school in Manhattan.