September 16, 2014

Former voucher school operator can’t be located

A judge in Milwaukee County has ordered the head of a private school to pay back $300,000 worth of taxpayer support he received to teach low-income kids through Wisconsin’s voucher school program. There’s just one problem: the whereabouts of 41-year-old Corey Daniels are currently unknown. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Daniels apparently has no attorney and does not return phone calls. Attempts by process servers to hand Daniels a summons outlining the complaint against him have proven futile, since they can’t find him.

Daniels oversaw the Milwaukee Institute of Academic Achievement, which enrolled between 100 and 180 students in grades K-through-8 during the 2011-’12 school. After reports surfaced about students being in danger, the Department of Public Instruction moved to terminate the institute’s participation in the choice program. DPI said the school submitted false documentation and was never eligible to get the tax money it received. The agency has barred Daniels from operating another voucher school.

When the taxpayer-funded choice program was expanded this year, it specifically allowed only established private schools to participate, a change meant to discourage “fly by night” operators from opening schools to take advantage of the voucher subsidies.

A September 24th court hearing may be attended only by Syronia Williams Clark, according to the Journal Sentinel. Her signature appears on many of the documents submitted to the state and approved, which allowed Daniels to join the voucher program and accept $6,442 for each qualifying student.