State auditors find misappropriation of funds, evidence of fraud and conflict of interest by charter school director

photo by D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group staff

There’s much to say about this report, but it’s been a long day, and the school board meeting is still going on. So for now, what I have for you is a link to the Tribune story about the Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team’s final report on alleged financial abuses by American Indian Model schools’ founder, Ben Chavis.

The case is being forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review.

Sheila Jordan, Alameda County’s superintendent, has recommended that the Oakland school board “continue to assess the viability of the schools in question.”


Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Oakland Teacher

    And is anyone surprised by this information? The school has been suspect from the time Mr Chavez came in. The real question is what is the district going to do about this? Likely nothing, because the school’s stats look so good. At what cost, though? Does the end justify the means?

  • Tyler

    Aside from Mr. Chavis, the problem is the culture and ineffecivness of the school board and administrators at these schools. As far as I’m concerned, they are either complicit or very ineffective. Either way, if nothing is done- gess who reigns?

  • LK

    From your article: “At the end of the day, it’s hard to argue those test scores,” he said. “It’s a really hard question.”

    You have to be kidding me. If anything, it is time to put those test scores under the microscope. Were those scores earned honestly? We are talking, after all, about a man who embezzled from a public school.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Absolutely! Those test scores were always suspect, but it is so impolitic to say that, people have been unwilling. The district voted to disregard the recommendations of both own charter team and the county office of education, and allowed the school to stay open.

  • Nextset

    One thing the state can do to try to protect the integrity of standardized testing for all the schools is to takeover the exam administration and have them done in public venues away from the schools using non-school proctors sent in for the exams.

    High Stakes testing engenders cheating. If there is any question of Chavis’ honesty – of course there is reason to suspect the validity of any testing done on his premises with his staff. Same as Atlanta and DC.

    If those tests have been falsified there would be little reason for AIM to remain.

    On the other hand, false scores can be sniffed out in various ways. Was there ever any attempt to look at the AIM scores with a critical eye? I believe the DC scandal started when someone notied a statistically significant number of erasures on the scantronic test papers.

    Perhaps the same auditors should now be turned loose on AIM’s test documents – and maybe compare those documents to a similar set from OUSD.

  • On the Fence

    LK and Oakland Teacher:

    I agree that with these findings it is now time to reexamine the test scores. I have no doubt that the school has many dedicated teachers and many bright and hard working students. I do not question the students’ integrity, but it seems reasonable to think that leadership’s unethical behavior may extend to corrupting the testing in some manner.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2012/02/three-handy-pages-with-facts-about.html Sharon

    Well, the fox certainly enjoyed himself in the hen house.

    I say revoke the three schools’ charters. Chavis undoubtedly installed a sense that it’s perfectly okay to betray the public’s trust in the schools’ operational culture. He stole money and he has definitely manipulated student enrollment. What else? You’d have to have less than half a brain to trust those “crazy like a fox” test scores.

    For years OUSD has been blatantly permitting Chavis to select students who are already highly compliant with doing school work — that’s been at least one major ingredient in his secret sauce. In return for that favor, and for turning a blind eye on him so he could steal the public’s money, Chavis would hurl abusive insults at the district and its schools anytime he could.

    The kids will do fine elsewhere. They were doing well when their parents enrolled them at the schools, otherwise they would not have been accepted. Several kids I’ve known who left AIPCS and re-entered the mainstream for Skyline High School also did perfectly well.

  • Nextset

    I have now read the audit report.

    The problems revealed do not begin to rise to the label of looting I typically see in a business embezzlement case. If Chavis was running a scam this would look very very different.

    That being said, he will probably now need to pay back or properly document a lot of the flagged transactions. And to stop the sloppy and improper practices..

    I could get this kind of trouble from any audit of any minority organization. Let’s face it, bookkeeping is never taught to blacks and browns. Just try to explain good accounting practice to any minority business. They don’t want to hear it.

    What I was looking for is intent to steal. Forgery. Cover-up. And gross takings. You know it when you see it and I’ve seen plenty of embezzlements. There is a quality of malice and sneakiness that’s there at a glance. This doesn’t feel that way. Maybe I’m biased because of work with minority businesses and minority professionals. Losses gooey books and practices are the norm and while a problem it is a different thing that wholesale looting.

    Regardless, if the problems exceed what OUSD will work with that is up to their sound discretion. But I’d like to have a comparison of this to the other charters’ accounting before I’d condemn Chavis as being evil or something.

    Imagine if this was a black run school.. What would you expect to see in their accounting?

    And yes, I still feel the audit team should now examine all the testing stats and materials right away to see if there is anything unexpected there. Like excessive erasures and missing test papers.

    Believe me, if you do have people lying, cheating and stealing in the accounting and the money you’d better check everything else right now.

    And the wife should be dismissed and real accountants put in charge of the books.

  • Nextset

    That was supposed to be “loosey goosey”. The IPad changes words….

    Again I’m not saying the improper transactions are ok or tolerable. What I am pointing out is the lack of forgeries, false records, vanished records and gross transfers of funds to the suspects, looting of entire income streams, cash skimming and ghosts on the payroll I see in real embezzlements. So don’t get on your high horse and call Chavis something that he’s not. Call him what he is..

    The bad items here are typical of certain people playing CEO. And if that leads to loss of faith and refusal to give AIM more grants, so be it..

  • Cranky Teacher

    Nextset, it doesn’t seem Chavis and wife didn’t NEED to do any of those “forgeries, false records” etc. because they had been given carte blanche: Zero oversight of public monies. So they set their own salaries, making their own contracts with their own companies, etc. They were so sure the test scores were a bullet-proof vest, they just did whatever the hell they want; they didn’t have to bother to break the law to steal.

    And I don’t care what rationalizations you make, these are significantly large amounts of money you are talking about. $3.8 million???

    Finally, let me point out that teachers at AIM have no union/no tenure. So what do you think a teacher who doesn’t want to lose their job at a school that values test scores above all going to do? MANIPULATE THE SCORES. This is so easy to do as to be trivial — all it takes is the motivation and the make-up to be immoral. You can rationalize it away: Who does it hurt? We’re a good school. I’ll just do it this one time.

    I feel like I need a shower after reading this article.

  • Steven Weinberg

    As Sharon Higgins has pointed out on her blog, The Perimeter Primate (http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2011/01/not-all-its-cracked-up-to-be.html), American Indian has much lower test scores on the SAT, which is supervised by non-school employees, than it does on the STAR tests. Schools that score 40 or more points below American Indian on their APIs have students that score 200 or more points higher on average on their SATs with a similar percentage of students tested.

  • Nextset

    Audit the tests fast. If those are faked then Aim’s reason for being is gone.

  • Ms. J.

    It seem very obvious to me as well as earlier posters that the test scores should be questioned, for all of the reasons already pointed out.

    But as I have commented on this topic before, I think it is an appalling indication of the corrupting, insidious influence of test scores that people (among them a school board member, no less) point to them as a mitigating factor or reason to allow a school which has engaged in so many dubious practices, disciplinary and financial, to stay open. The tail is totally wagging the dog, and it’s a raggedy, easily manipulated tail at that!


    To assume that AIPCS teachers and students are dishonest because Chavis and his wife may have committed fraud is absurd. If the Alameda County Superintendent misappropriated funds intended for Oakland schools, would anyone argue that those schools should be closed? Would any of you assume that the students and teachers must have also been dishonest? No. People would instead pursue the guilty party without attacking the integrity of the schools, students, and teachers.

    The actions of one man (a man who is rarely, if ever, involved in the daily operations of AIM schools) are and should be considered separately from the actions of students and teachers. To run around attacking students and teachers is no more than a witch hunt.

  • PoohBear

    How will AIPCS clean up the mess that is left?
    How will a new board be appointed? Judi Marquardt has been on the board for years but couldn’t recall how long during the special OUSD board meeting; she is also complicit. How will you interview/appoint new leaders for downtown and AIPCS I?

  • J.R.

    People who are under the gun love it when attention is diverted to someone else(I believe that Chavis should be prosecuted and fined heavily). Charters have only been in existence for a decade and a half in appreciable numbers(with mixed results, at best). Chavis failures do not in any way excuse OUSD and or public education at large for its own failures for the past 3-4-5 decades. It is simply akin to schoolyard finger pointing “They did it too”, “they’re worse” juvenile type thinking.

  • Catherine

    I personally know of several students who came from hills schools and were proficient or just into advanced area of their STAR test. Now in AIPCS the students are far exceeding their peers at Montera and Edna Brewer in that their test scores are far better, but more than that, they are polite, helpful, well-spoken and articulate. They pay attention to work ethic and overcoming obstacles. School is their work. By contrast, when speaking to the Montera and Edna Brewer students, their favorite thing about school are the dances and lunch break for the most part.

    The students from Montera and Edna Brewer are often noticed for being loud in Montclair village and Glenview. They do not use academic English when speaking to adults they pass and the vast majority are inarticulate when explaining their thoughts and ideas.

    And these same students are taking courses through Stanford and Johns Hopkins over the summer to learn more deeply about subjects that in. That is not the case for students from Montera and Edna Brewer. I chose hills schools and those two middle schools for comparison because the vast majority of families could afford to support students who wanted to attend such programs. The parents also tend to be “academic” or “standard” English speakers.

    For those who criticize AIPCS students and accuse them on this blog of not earning their test scores: How many of you personally know any AIPCS students? Would you be willing to personally accuse them of not earning their test scores?

  • J.R.


    Like I said, just because Chavis is rotten, does not mean these teachers and their kids did not merit their scores(and or worked very hard). You are right, if and when kids are articulate well-spoken and intelligent(or vice-versa) it is a reflection on their parents and school-community. To have the best, you have to expect, and insist upon the best from everyone in the community starting with you.

  • Catherine

    When I said these students are taking courses through Stanford and Johns Hopkins, I am speaking of the AIPCS students.

  • PoohBear

    You make good points. Those that attack the scores usually hate the charter system as a whole, or American Indian because of its unusual discipline policy. Past and present administrators, teachers, and students will vouch for the scores. There was nothing suspect in the way the tests were handled. I should mention though that the courses through SAIL (Stanford Academic Institute of Learning) are not connected at all to Stanford University. If the students you’re talking about were taking classes through CTY, that is one thing. Dr. Chavis uses the name without permission from Stanford University and was able to pay himself through that program, just like he paid himself through the ASES program. There was essentially no cost – former high school students were paid dirt cheap wages (6 classrooms around $11K) and the school used the same textbooks. Why SAIL charged up to 177K for high school students is beyond me. I wonder what checking account the money wound up in.

  • Catherine

    PoohBear: Many of the students went through SAIL and others participated in Stanford’s EPGY (Education Program for Gifted Youth) whether or not they were identified as gifted simply because they knew the material – well.

  • Jim Mordecai


    I am not sure how you audit a test that has been given. Sure there is a computer program that shows erasers. And, maybe witnesses to the testing can testify to what they consider unfair actions that give advantage to the students testing.

    But, unless there is eraser evidence that is overwhelming or witness testimony that would be considered by a court actions establishing cheating on a test, test cheating will not be proved.

    Jim Mordecai

  • Nextset

    Catherine: Your post #19 really gets me going.

    You describe (apparently) black OUSD kids hanging out in Montclair exhibiting “typical” behaviors.

    “I chose hills schools and those two middle schools for comparison because the vast majority of families could afford to support students who wanted to attend such programs. The parents also tend to be “academic” or “standard” English speakers.”

    But yet their kids out of school apparently are devolving into a lesser society. McWhorter alludes to this in “Losing The Race”. The children of the black middle and professional class exhibiting downward mobility. I’ve seen this first hand growing up in the Oakland Bay Area. The downward mobility kids (I knew/heard of) were OUSD not Catholic School kids.

    It goes without saying that if my schools heard anything about us becoming a nuisance to anyone on the way home from school we would be punished at school and then punished at home. And the uniforms guaranteed passersby or bus drivers knew who to call if they wanted to report anything.

    And we were sharply corrected if we used bad English. Anywhere, anytime.

    Some black parents made a point of sending their kids to schools that had higher discipline standards and did not cater to black lower classes. Some black parents thought it was not a big deal and any school would do. This is still going on – some say it’s the money, I know it’s not. Some parents as well as OUSD just want Otis and Latifah to be “happy” and surrounded by their little black friends. Use of the more competitive schools, including Piedmont, Head Royce and others around the Bay Area as well as Church Schools really does guarantee Otis and Latifah won’t be living in their comfort zones AND won’t be surrounded by all their little black friends.

    Also I doubt anyone would be permitted to march at graduation in Kunta Kinte rags. It wasn’t uniform. Now, who knows if standards are going to be maintained.

    Back to the AIM thing. An audit of the testing would go far to address issues of whether AIM is not appropriate to be considered for further certification. The money thing with Chavis will be interesting as it proceeds to school board action. I disapprove of Chavis conduct in the handling of the funds. And I’m not in the least surprised – this is typical money handling behavior of some people and their schemes. I’m interested in what the School Board does about it because Chavis’ board of directors are most likely only there as rubber stamps.

    Before I mutter my BNW ending I want to say that what we are seeing is Caste America. Rather than the public schools used to reduce Caste dominance and give the students a common background – it perpetuates it. Educrats have decided to promote the Caste thing and to eliminate common areas of society. This is why the schools want segregated Caste graduation ceremonies (UC’s Black Grad ceremony?) and failing that, Caste identifiers on the common ceremony (Kunta Kinte rags).

    I went to a night law school graduation recently and sure enough, the black grads wore their Kunte Kinte scarves as they marched. It was a CA accredited school. Last July Bar exam exactly 9 blacks statewide took the bar first time from such schools. None passed.


    Yet in this one school far more than 9 marched, proudly displaying their Caste banner. Which must have been comforting having spent well over $50k for the degree.

    I know from experience you don’t pass the Bar doing it your way. I stopped and chatted with several black students who will graduate next year. None of them were aware of any of the racial bar-pass stats. No homework being done here. If they’d made a study of the issue they might have tried to do things to increase chances of surviving the exam (perhaps longer term bar prep coursework & practice exams).

    This post seems to roam, so here’s my point. In education especially education for particular careers – you don’t get anywhere letting the students be they 8th graders, 12th graders, undergrads or grad students – do whatever feels good to them. Nor are they qualified to make good decisions on their own. OUSD’s program does seem to be pacification. OUSD (and their partisans) hates AIM because is uses an anti-pacification model and every single success the AIM products have puts the lie to OUSD’s educational philosophy.

    Chavis can take all the money he wants – if he still puts out a competitive product somehow, and OUSD doesn’t, then AIM is doing something right and OUSD wrong. So audit AIM’s testing to be sure. But it’s hard to care when OUSD and it’s partisans are unhappy about another school. Even if they do have a good point.

    OUSD needs a set of schools open citywide where standards & discipline are maintained even for black kids.

  • J.R.

    Lazear parents win approval for charter at lazear site.


  • Steven Weinberg

    I attended my daughter-in-laws graduation celebration for her Master’s program at UC Davis last night. In the group of 18 graduates there were two African-American students from Oakland. Both were from the flatland public schools, one from East Oakland, one from West Oakland.
    It was clear from their remarks and their posted work that they could speak and write eloquently and in standard English. It was also clear that they were respected and valued members of their class.

    To Oakland teachers and administrators who have just finished another school year, know that, despite the district’s problems, your efforts do show positive results and they are appreciated.

  • Nextset

    Steven Weinberg: Good for the two blacks – but what you are saying does not reassure anyone about OUSD.

    There are brights in every group. Bad schools historically don’t keep brights down. The test of the products of a school is what the averages do and what the middling students do with their social, occupational and economic lives – not to mention staying alive and out of prison.

    It’s in that measure that OUSD has completely tanked over the decades. What is it, 50% plus of the OUSD blacks drop out anyway because the school doesn’t do enough for them to keep them around?

    And then we have the Nigerians, the Ethiopians, the other “ians” and the mixed black kids. Easier for the stats, less work for OUSD. So no, I am not going to give any credit to OUSD for the success of one or two black kids. And you shouldn’t either.

    And exactly what graduate Major was that, anyway??

    Your last sentence.. “Your efforts do show positive results…” WRONG. The stats are deplorable. OUSD is a failure factory and there are no positive results for blacks. Sure some of them manage to make it in industry, military or higher ed. in Dribs and Drabs with numbers far below what you’d expect. OUSD is not adding value to it’s negroes. All that is being produced is minimal results from the stock they are getting at 1st grade. We need better results for the large numbers OUSD is playing with. And until OUSD produces better (mortality/literacy/employability/military recruitment/college) stats, it will not be getting any praise from a critical eye.

  • Steven Weinberg

    I find it interesting that you favor us with your opinions on education on a daily basis, but you never express any opinions about the criminal justice system that you are clearly more familiar with. In education California spends less of its per capita wealth than almost any other state and has outcomes that are slightly below average. On the other hand, a recent report said that we spend more per capita than any other state on our criminal justice system, and we have the among the worst outcomes as shown by the recidivism rate.

  • OUSD Parent

    I’m sure that Nextset has plenty to say about the criminal justice system in CA. My bet is that there is a link with dropping out of school and landing up in prison which is why he’s so vocal on this blog. But what do I know!

  • J.R.

    Steven wrote,
    “In education California spends less of its per capita wealth than almost any other state and has outcomes that are slightly below average”.
    There are reasons for that:
    1. California has almost one third of all public assistance recipients in the country.
    2. Prop 13 has hurt property tax revenue for education, and there is no denying that.
    3. we are living in a state that subsidizes far too much(on too many things), as an example free reduced lunches which Katy reported that OUSD has 70% of children who receive FRLP.
    4.California is a donor state meaning we only get 77 cents on the dollar in tax refunds back from the federal government.
    5. The debt burden(pensions etc) is growing too fast proportionally for the state to stay solvent on a permanent basis.
    6. The mortgage meltdown debacle affected every other part of the California economy.

    All these things impact what we do, and what we don’t do as a state. There are far too few real taxpayers to support this kind of system. It’s a fact.


  • J.R.

    Another example of state waste of taxpayer money, because it’s so easy to spend other peoples money!


  • Another AIPCS Teacher

    Cranky Teacher et al. should definitely take a very cold shower. Curb your venom. Resist the urge to lash out against those who have nothing to do with the misconduct outlined in the FCMAT report. I guarantee you that all AIPCS staff share the outrage you are feeling towards Chavis, his wife, and the board.

    However, those test scores were earned by the students fair and square, the result of many hours of hard work. During my tenure there, the school’s model has been successfully implemented by many outstanding, dedicated teachers–few of whom, for what it’s worth, are ever profiled by the media in stories about the school. That model is incredibly effective for many (thought not all) AIPCS students, and test scores alone hardly testify to the achievements of those students over the years.

    I welcome any auditing of the school’s CST, SAT, or other tests, especially if it would vindicate AIPCS students and teachers in the eyes of skeptics like Cranky Teacher. Rather than sling accusations at each other, I want to engage these skeptics in a less partisan, more civil discussion of why the school has succeeded IN SPITE OF Chavis. Any takers?

  • Catherine

    Another AIPCS Teacher: I have witnessed the work of your students first hand. While I absolutely believe Steven Weinberg’s experience with two individuals from Davis – that they worked hard, are well-spoken and came from the flatlands, that is not the vast majority of the students in East and West Oakland. However, my experience is that it describes the VAST majority of AIPCS students. In my experience they work – really work on schoolwork – 8 hours per day – every school day.

    I do not believe that comes close to describing the vast majority of Oakland students.

  • http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2012/02/three-handy-pages-with-facts-about.html Sharon

    There are other ways to ensure high test scores other than outright cheating… extremely strategic student selection for one.

    One problem with charters, other than being able to rip off the public’s money, is that their very existence relies on producing good test scores. This is what’s meant by “high stakes testing.” So over and over again we hear how charter schools cherry pick, or exclude and push out non-compliant or limited ability performers. And it’s absolutely true in too many cases.

    A couple of years ago I overheard a local charter school employee explaining to someone else how her school retains a large number of students because they didn’t score high enough on the state tests. Of course all that does is bump up the charter school’s test scores for each of the following years because a good chunk of the kids in each grade are one year older than the average and taking the test for the second time around. Also, the few parents who don’t want their kids retained by the school will exit. Either way, the school has altered the makeup of the kids taking the tests resulting in scores ending up in its favor. Since it comes down to survival, and it does in this era of school choice and extreme competition, charter schools can manipulate a lot of things to give them the advantage. Just ask Ben Chavis.

  • Catherine

    Sharon: I do know that there are students who leave AIPCS, however, it is mostly the students who no longer want the discipline or workload.

    I know you STRONGLY believe that charters are bad for schools, teachers and society, but there are so many needs not being met in regular Oakland classrooms – the top 2 or 3 percent of Oakland students could walk in and take the STAR test and achieve advanced scores yet almost no Oakland classroom challenges these students. The special ed students often go years without updated IEPs against state and federal laws. Teachers often only get through 75% of the textbooks before STAR testing and do not go bak to finish the book. Homework is not tied to classroom work in the vast majority of teachers give worksheets – when the worksheets are completed surveys show that fewer than 25% of teachers correct homework for accuracy and fewer than 75% check to make sure the work was done at all.

    The vast majority of charter schools do not operate this way. Administrators and teacher meet and know the students by name that are reaching under 80% – not the under 65% in Oakland classrooms – as identified by district administration.

    Please do not even suggest that OUSD administration office does not have employees who abuse the system monetarily and with time. When I walk into district office I have to wait until the phone calls about last week end’s date, the crappy co-workers and the demanding principals are finished before I can get help for students. The unions protect employees, the supervisors protect employees and the students in Oakland are simply not achieving. One exception that I’ve seen is Lincoln Elementary School and the students succeed because the school is run similar to charter schools with homework completed and checked, a belief that all students – even students living in extreme poverty will succeed. There is a family and school culture of hard work.

  • Jay

    There are many ways to cheat and some are harder to prove than others. Read the article attached.


    As for how AIPCS goes from here- what buildings will they be in if Chavis leaves? Doesnt he own all of them? The board will not get rid of him- and by the way while we sit here and vent on this blog, I bet he”s still pulling off schemes!

  • GV Haste

    If you came from Mars and were given a voucher to send your child to a school in Oakland, where would spend your voucher?

    At AIPCS?

    Or at a standard OUSD site?

    Would any supposed Chavis skimming alter your choice?
    In short, would you not do what is best for your child.
    The “goal” is educated students.

    In the “approved” system, hundreds of millions are skimmed off by ineffective hair-brained ideas and programs, but you seldom see everyone calling for investigations.
    Just how awful does the “approved” system have to be before the waste is classified as fraud?

  • Gordon Danning


    I had several students 2 yrs ago who left Amer Indian as juniors because theywere disappointed in the lack of rigor there. They are all at Cal or UCLA now, so I believe them. Of course, that migjt just mean that their model works less well at the HS level than at lower grades

  • Catherine

    Gordon: I agree with you – not about the middle school vs. high school, but the model does not work for highly motivated, fast learners who understand concepts deeply.

    Of all of the students that I know they fit one of two profiles: the students themselves were in public elementary schools in which the majority of students did not have self-discipline, the families did not have much consistency, the parents of the students did not have a strong educational background and the students were not “self-learners” meaning they do not seek broad and deep learning for learning’s sake. The second type are families that believe in strong discipline and expect their children to get an education to move beyond the family’s current status.

    In my experience, the first group tend to be African-American and Hispanic/Latino youth and the second group tend to be Asian and Arab youth. I am not saying this is true categorically I am saying it is true for the families I personally know.

    AIPCS would not be a good fit for my sons as it was not for the students who left of whom you described. My son’s tend to integrate their learning across disciplines, foreign language instruction, socratic method learning and scientific laboratories ere extremely important to them. They also tend to be the type of kids who leap in their learning during the summer.

    AIPCS believes they need to pull students along – they tend to not have pre-testing for knowledge and teach all students in the same way. AIPCS has a drill, baby drill way of teaching. For students who are perfectionists and who question the “why” and “how” of everything they learn it is not a fit; however for those students who have no family members to help at home with questions and answers and do not live close to someone to access help AIPCS may be the way to go. For many students who are first in their families to attend colleges and universities, I believe the percentage of attendance AND GRADUATION is high at AIPCS than that of any other high school in Oakland with the exception of the academies at Tech.(As a percentage of the whole)

    I also believe that as a percentage of the whole the students coming from AIPCS middle schools are more prepared for the rigor of high school than any Oakland public middle school.

  • Disgusted Downtown

    To put this in perspective, AIPCS, AIPCS II, and AIPHS served 1,786 students from 2007-2011. That is to say, if you add the enrollment of all three schools for all 4 of the included school years, this is the total number of students (CDE – Dataquest).

    Chavis and his wife STOLE 3.8 million dollars over the same period of time.

    This means they STOLE $2,127.65 from every one of those students.

    If a heart doctor has many successful surgeries, but he bilks the insurance company for millions of dollars, would we argue that the doctor should be able to continue STEALING because his patients don’t die? No, we would throw the THIEF in JAIL, and find another good doctor who wasn’t a LYING THIEF to take his place.

    Shame on the PATHETIC school board for having so little confidence in its own teachers, leaders,and staff. This board is willing to support a LIAR and a THIEF, because they believe no one else can do the job. If I worked in your district, I would quit. You support these married FELONS because, unlike any of the honest people you hired, they get results. Well, AS LONG AS THE TRAINS RUN ON TIME, I guess everything is OK.

    Everyone involved in education reform should be doing everything in their power to ensure that Chavis and Chavis are cell mates for a long time to come.

  • PoohBear

    I’m wondering why my posts re: one of the principals alleged involvement in the coverup/fraud were removed. I can count 7 strong teachers/administrators that left within 3 months of Chavis’ return. Another decided to stay and be complicit.

    People want the schools to stay open, which is fair. At this point, it seems like it’s too little too late on the part of the board. Stember is no longer president, according to Ms. Chen. Who is in charge then? Will the board have to answer to gross negligence? In the OCS report, it said checks were made out to one board member. Will those that stood by for years and did NOTHING still be in leadership positions?

  • Phishing

    For all of us who have worked for the great instituiton of American Indian, I pose this question.

    You all know Dr. Chavis- do you really think he will ever allow someone else to take over the schools?

    As we all know, he is an ultimate control freak (now we really know why) and behind his rants, his memos, commandments, and “chavisms”(his own word)-

    Do you really think anyone else will EVER be truly in charge of AIPCS that is not he?

    Now, for the rest of the public; where is his board? Do they know they ALL about AIPCS?

    I truly doubt it-

  • Katy Murphy

    Hi PoohBear,

    I tried to email you to explain — and to thank you, generally, for your blog contributions, and to invite you to resubmit your comments without the criminal accusations — but the message bounced back.

    A reminder to all on this blog: It’s fine to critique the performance of a public figure, such as a school principal, but not to accuse someone of a crime (such as conspiracy) unless there is evidence to substantiate those claims. Especially if the accusations are posted anonymously, with no reliable way for me to verify the identity of the author.

    As far as I could tell, the school principal wasn’t implicated in the latest findings (If I’m wrong, please cite the page number) about AIMS and Ben Chavis. For that reason, I had to take some of those comments down.

  • Nextset

    PoohBear: As a lawyer I wanted to reinforce Katy’s point.

    If you are not a lawyer you probably are not competent to publicly speculate or accuse other people of crimes based on such conjecture. You have no reason to know the elements of most crimes. You are not experienced in delineating vicarious criminal liability. You weren’t there anyway and cannot say who did what and who agreed to what or was in on what or who controlled what.

    What you can do is ask why a certain apparent fact pattern is or is not a crime (as opposed to pronouncing specific guilt of X to something or other) to get the ball rolling. You aren’t doing that.

    During lunch today one person was complaining that a father who slapped his daughter was guilty of some heinous crime. I say why? The answer is that you can’t slap your minor child. I said BS – Have you even bothered to read the law? Some kids can get slapped, and the girl in question sounds like one to me, even if I wouldn’t have bothered to do so. “Reasonable” chastisement is allowed. Cut the emotional burping and explain how the blow wasn’t reasonable given the over the top situation the father was confronted with (15 year old preparing to leave to join her pimp).

    Now you can still make an argument, but the speaker just assumed/took for granted that all blows to every minor child was prohibited. White liberals do that. As a practical matter the fact pattern in question would likely result in a not guilty or hung jury. the speaker wanted the table to not look at anything critically. Or to not be careful with any analysis. We are taught to never do that in law school.

    White liberals love prosecuting black/brown parents for reasonable chastisement of their kids. They will do it even if they know full well it won’t fly with a jury because they feel they can bully black parents into a plea. I’m not referring to clearly unreasonable chastisement (weapons, scarring, drunk, sexualized, aberrant, etc). I’m talking as simple as spanking.

    My point. You had better not publish in writing words accusing named people of committing crimes without at least applying the stated facts to the code and even then stating all this as a qualified opinion based of the facts actually being what happened. Otherwise you could be liable civilly for damages to your victim if you are not completely correct. And it’s a crap shoot often to get the facts and the law right. Unless you were there and have checked the law…

    Katy is trying to protect you and your targets from lackadaisical liability.

    Whatever Chavis & wife may have done does not automatically create criminal liability for the staff and it remains to be seen if their accounting will pass muster for any charges criminally as opposed to civilly, if even that. Actually, I haven’t heard of much reaction so far to the audit. My experience is that these issues are common in such enterprises – remember the Oakland Black Panther School, anyone??? How many people got prosecuted over their accounting – none?? Was that the case where the bookkeeper was found floating in the bay, dead? So don’t hold your breath.

    The first thing if any is a political response. I’m waiting. Don’t hear the trains running…

  • Nextset

    OUSD Parent: I don’t connect the dropping out of school with landing in prison. It’s a chicken and egg thing. Kids leave school because the proposed school for them has no perceived value including no association value. The school (OUSD for example) did that to themselves and very deliberately too.

    You go to prison for getting convicted of committing felonies. Dropping out of school is not an element of any felony. I have known school dropouts – one neighbor kid refused to go to school from age 12 or 13 and his brother dropped out by 15. They have never been in prison and are homeowners. They work all the time. They are at risk for poverty because they don’t have the career flexibility a credentialed person might and earn based on continued good health and physicality – and the markets for a strong back.

    Prison can be statistically tied to risk factors. Low IQ, psychopathic personality/ASPD, high hormonal levels, major mental illness and personality disorders, bad genetics/families, congenital criminality (gypsies?), sexual disorders…

    Having some of these with early onset can also cause you to leave school. But leaving school does not ever make you to go to prison in this country. Many of the State Prisoners and most of the Juvenile Prisoners have diagnosable mental problems. Our prisons are just nuthouses without the Doctors. Evil does have a Dx – ASPD.

    I have strong opinions about crime and punishment as experimented with by CA. Not politically correct though. So I’m at loath to dump my thoughts on you.

    Let’s just say that the criminal problems CA has are all self generated. We have crime because we encourage it, ratify it, keep it going, keep it comfortable. Liberals and Democrats create crime by creating criminals. Malaysia/Singapore doesn’t have liberals in charge and accordingly has less crime in a multiethnic society (with poverty). Poverty does not create crime. We are going to have a lot more crime before it gets better.

    Good people are buying guns. LOTS of guns and LOTS of ammo.

  • Nextset

    A PS to the above. If OUSD want to retain the black drop puts – which they don’t – they would establish a “Ditch Digger U”, allow the black/brown/etc wanna drop-outs to transfer in – and give that set of schools a program valuable to the drop-out Caste. Forget college prep and ignore the state requirements. just offer programs that lead to some industry & maybe military enlistment. Also work on giving Digger U an association value. that could be a uniform, a football program, a job referral program, a ghetto prom, a meeting with Obama – anything/something that carries a value of belonging.

    Things aren’t all bad at OUSD. I don’t believe OUSD has the murderous clash of Nortenos/Suerenos and such in residence like LAUSD does. that will come soon. Just try running a school when you have critical mass of kill-on-sight rival gangs in house.

  • Former AIM Teacher

    Any update on this Katy?

  • Katy Murphy

    Not yet — but if anyone else has an update, let me know! (kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com)

  • PoohBear

    According to Christina Chen (new accountant, replaced Marsha Amador), Michael Stember resigned as the president of the board. I spoke to her Monday. I don’t know if this means he is no longer president or is no longer on the board. She was busy and had a meeting to run to. This is odd, considering he vehemently denied all charges related to the FCMAT report.

  • PoohBear


    I’m still waiting for him to give up control. If he gave up control before the OUSD/ AIPCS II hearing, maybe all three charters wouldn’t be in jeopardy. Unfortunately, he has control over the board. Even if he isn’t directly in the picture, it’s very easy to see that other board members either received checks from him or lived with him. The former was in the OCS report and the latter was something I personally witnessed.

  • Phishing


    So who is on the board now? If they have resigned, who are the new members. The school is a non profit thus they are required to have one.