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Published: Thursday, 2/15/2007

West Toledo charter school ended its year $20,844 in red

Toledo Accelerated Academy, a privately managed West Toledo charter school, ended its last fiscal year with a $20,844 deficit, according to an independent audit released this week.

The school at 2913 South Republic Blvd. is managed by the Leona Group LLC of East Lansing, Mich.

In exchange for its services, Leona Group charges a capitation fee of 12 percent of the expenditures per student. In addition, at the end of the year, the company collects 50 percent of any surplus money.

The school incurred a management fee totaling $137,254 for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2006.

The academy entered into a loan agreement with Citizens Banking Corp. for $500,000 at 6.2 percent interest on Aug. 30, 2006, the audit said.

Barbara Baker, vice president of Ohio operations for Leona Group, said that kind of loan is taken out for its schools "that don't have a sufficient fund balance for the school year and it is paid back by the end of the fiscal year."

The academy's governing board consists of the same members as the governing boards for Eagle Academy, Lake Erie Academy, George A. Phillips Academy, Paul Laurence Dunbar Academy, and Wildwood Environmental Academy. All are charter schools managed by the Leona Group and operating in the Toledo area.

Charter schools are publicly funded in Ohio but often privately run.

The East Lansing company charges similar management fees for each of the schools it manages, according to other audits.

The Ohio Auditor's Office accepted an independent audit of Toledo Accelerated Academy written by Plante & Moran PLLC of Auburn Hills, Mich.



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