The Minnesota Department of Education is calling for an investigation into Community School of Excellence, a St. Paul charter school, over financial and employment concerns.
State officials allege the school may have used federal money to fund social events and a lengthy student trip to Thailand. The department has also received complaints that Mo Chang, the school's director, has threatened employees who disagree with her and that she violated laws dictating how maltreatment of minors should be reported. There are also allegations the school is collecting federal food and nutrition funds for meals students never consumed.
The state Education Department wants the school's authorizer, Concordia University, to investigate.
Patti Hessling, the head of the school's board of directors, says the board is hiring an external investigator to look into the allegations and that neither she nor Chang will comment on the allegations until after the investigation is complete.
Lonn Maly, Concordia University's vice president of academic affairs and chair of Concordia's charter school counsel, takes the allegations seriously.
Maly said Concordia directed the Community School of Excellence to hire an outside investigator to look into the allegations.
He said Concordia has dealt with similar allegations at the charter in the past, some that turned out to be true and some not.
"Sometimes it's disgruntled employees, other times we have found things were the allegations are true and we've need to do some corrective action," Maly said.