The governing Boards of ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania and ASPIRA of PA Schools have released the following statement:
ASPIRA and ASPIRA Schools have had allegations of financial mismanagement made against them by a small yet vocal minority.
Within the past year, ASPIRA and ASPIRA Schools have completed 17 and are in the midst of 3 additional financial audits/inquiries for various schools and programs at the local, state, and federal levels. Although not all are complete, to this point, no instances of fiscal mismanagement have been alleged, reported, or disseminated by the various regulatory bodies and audit firms that have performed these audits/inquiries.
The audits/inquiries conducted within the past year include:
1. The City Comptroller's Office examined Olney Charter (1 audit).
2. Pantoja Charter’s and Olney Charter’s National School Lunch Programs were audited (2 audits).
3. Federal Programs within each ASPIRA School were audited by the State Department of Education (5 audits).
4. The Inspector General of the US Department of Education examined Stetson Charter and its relationship with ASPIRA (1 audit).
5. Independent auditors Withum Smith + Brown PC audited ASPIRA Community Enterprises, Inc. including ACE/Dougherty; audited ASPIRA’s Cyber Charter; and conducted a Single Audit of the other four ASPIRA Schools and ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania (7 audits).
6. Withum Smith + Brown PC also specifically audited ASPIRA’s 401K plan (1 audit).
Current audits/inquiries taking place include:
1. The State Department of Education is examining ASPIRA’s Cyber Charter (1 audit).
2. IDEA funds at Pantoja Charter are being audited (1 audit).
3. Independent auditors Jimenez Associates LLP are auditing Stetson Charter (1 audit).
ASPIRA and ASPIRA Schools have and will continue to be transparent. Interested parties through the Right to Know Law have requested and received school documents, reports, records, and other requested information.
Claims of financial mismanagement were a small, vocal, and virulent minority’s misrepresentation of selected line items within audits that did not tell the complete story and were manipulated to serve an agenda. Within the past year, ASPIRA and ASPIRA Schools have had 8 auditing bodies conduct 20 audits that did not or have not reported financial mismanagement.
ASPIRA has been a pillar of its community for 45 years, ASPIRA Schools have proven outcomes of student success, and ASPIRA’s network utilizes its funding appropriately to serve its stakeholders.
Dr. Elise Miranda-Martin; ASPIRA, Inc. of Pennsylvania; Chairperson
Fred Ramirez, ASPIRA of PA Schools Board of Trustees, Chairperson