Three men were recently convicted of bribery and conspiracy by a federal jury in US District Court as a result of their work while hired at Arise! Academy, a charter school in Dayton, Ohio that operated from 2004 to 2010.
According to federal prosecutors, two board members for the charter school, Christopher D. Martin, 44, of Springfield and Kristal N. Screven of Dayton, along with school superintendent Shane K. Floyd, 42, of Strongsville participated in a conspiracy in an effort to cause unbid contracts to allow for overpayments to be made to Global Educational Consultants, which was co-owned by Carl L. Robinson, 47, of Durham, N.C.
During the same time, other board members were unaware of a previous relationship held between Floyd and Robinson, who had previously worked together when the pair created a separate educational consulting firm, writes Laura A. Bischoff for The Dayton Daily News.
A jury has now convicted the three men of bribery and conspiracy, with Martin and Floyd also being convicted of lying to FBI investigators. Martin and Floyd could face 20 years in prison, with Robinson facing up to 15 years.
Meanwhile, Screven pled guilty to one criminal count of conspiracy to commit bribery and will face up to 5 years in prison for his role. Originally, he had faced charges of conspiracy, bribery and witness intimidation for his role in allegedly asking a witness to lie to the jury.
Global Educational Consultants was paid $420,919 by Arise! over a period of 15 months beginning in September 2008. At the same time, the school was facing difficulties paying its own bills and staff. Floyd and Martin received thousands of dollars from Robinson in the form of cash, as well as other methods of payment, including an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas taken by Martin, reports Dan Sewell for The Washington Times.
As a result of their actions, the men could be forced to repay the $420,919 that was paid to Global Educational Consultants.
Arise was originally established in 2004 to help drop-out and at-risk high school students in the area. However, the school quickly succumbed to financial issues which prompted a state audit in 2006-07. The audit revealed a number of concerns, including poor record keeping and accounting, as well as failing to file state reports in a timely manner.
Due to financial troubles at the school and poor academic performance, the Educational Resource Consultants of Ohio decided to not renew their contract with the school, causing it to close in June of 2010.
In 2009, when Arise paychecks were bouncing, vendors went unpaid and staff took a 20 percent pay cut, Floyd told the Dayton Daily News: "These pains, these wounds are great now; I understand that and I sympathize with the staff here to take a cut like that. But I do commend their determination and the willingness to still go about the business of educating our young people. At the end of the day, it's about the kids," he said.