SAN ANTONIO - A local charter school superintendent broke the law while using public funds. That's the finding of a newly released audit by the Texas Education Agency into Shekinah Learning Institute.
When I first investigated Superintendent Cheryl Washington last summer, it was because former employees claimed she was using taxpayer money for her own personal use for things like travel expenses. The recent audit by TEA did not find any wrongdoing related to those kinds of funds, but did question why Washington spent $1.4 million to buy a former church in Universal City for a campus. Then the next day sign an agreement to also use it for her church where she volunteers as the pastor.
The state says Washington broke state law by entering into rental agreements between the district and her church. Washington also broke the law by having the district pay rent to use classrooms at a day care center she operated.
Washington, who makes more than $250,000 a year and calls herself “Doctor Washington,” although as I previously reported, she does not have a real doctorate degree - denied any wrong doing when I sat down with her last year.
Brian: “Have you ever you ever used public funds for any inappropriate purpose?”
Washington: “Not to my knowledge, no.”
The district released a statement in response to the audit through its lawyer, "Shekinah Learning Institute voluntarily took corrective action prior to issuance of the TEA's preliminary and final reports. Staff training and refinement of operating procedures are ongoing and will continue."
Shekinah has until September 7 to submit a corrective action plan to the state.