2 IDEA Public Schools leaders ousted after audit reveals misuse of funds

Dorothy S. Bass

SAN ANTONIO – Pursuing a forensic review that revealed Strategy Public Faculties leaders misused resources for their personalized acquire, IDEA’s Executive Committee Chairman Al Lopez introduced that CEO JoAnn Gama and Main Operation Officer Irma Muñoz have been fired.

Lopez created the announcement in an open up letter Tuesday right after the board voted to fireplace the two. In the interim, Lopez will provide as performing CEO of the constitution network when Vice Chair Collin Sewell will be acting COO.

Above the class of past spring and summer, Thought obtained anonymous strategies about allegations of “inappropriate expenditures and other misuse of Thought methods,” Lopez wrote in the letter.

The Board then directed IDEA’s outside the house legal professionals to retain a specific counsel who was charged with carrying out “an in-depth lawful and forensic review” of monetary transaction and routines of Idea senior executives. Proof that was uncovered through the audit was then independently reviewed by an accounting expert, Lopez wrote.


“In summary, the assessment uncovered sizeable evidence that in the calendar year prior to 2020′s reforms, a modest number of Strategy senior leaders directed the use of Idea monetary and personnel methods for their personal advantage on multiple occasions,” Lopez wrote. “Furthermore, their actions appeared to be performed in a manner to stay clear of detection by the typical external audit and interior control procedures that the Board had in spot at the time.”

The board voted to hearth Gama and Muñoz, and the board has pledged to cooperate with the Texas Instruction Agency, which may possibly stop up appointing a keep an eye on or a conservator to enable guarantee the faculty program operates smoothly.

Lopez would not specify the findings further, citing the possible “involvement of the authorities.”

Notion Community Schools has witnessed controversy before linked to questionable expenses. In 2019, Strategy CEO Tom Torkelson had ideas to signal an eight-year lease on a personal jet. Even though Torkelson managed that general public funds would not have been employed for the plane, leaders made the decision not to go forward with the lease.


Another controversial obtain Concept leaders selected to discontinue was shopping for tickets and a luxurious box for activities at San Antonio’s AT&T Center. Although people purchases have been also paid for with personal resources, Torkelson experienced acknowledged that the buys have been “really dumb and unhelpful.”

In April 2020, Torkelson resigned, primary to the appointment of co-founder Gama as the new CEO.

Lopez mentioned he and Sewell will count on the support from the neighborhood to assist steer the ship until eventually they locate new leaders to hire.

“In closing, permit me assure you of this: I will give my all to make guaranteed the founding mission of the organization is honored and our learners thrive by means of these demanding instances,” Lopez wrote.

Copyright 2021 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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