FromThe Cincinnati Enquirer: W.E.B. DuBois Academy, a charter school that in recent years fell from Ohio's top academic rating to its lowest level, is scheduled to become the first Cincinnati charter school to be shut down by the state for poor academics. But officials at the school say they have a way around the law: they'll open another school in the same building. Dianne Ebbs, principal of the school, says after DuBois closes next spring, its sister school, Cincinnati Speech & Reading, will move from down the street and operate in the same building.
APRIL 2009...from The Cincinnati Enquirer: A Cincinnati charter school and its imprisoned founder owe taxpayers more than $700,000 in illegally spent public money, Ohio State Auditor Mary Taylor's office says. Two audits explain the extensive financial wrongdoing by Wilson Willard III and W.E.B. DuBois Academy, which he founded in 2000. The school enrolls about 200 students in grades 3-8.Willard is serving a four-year prison sentence for theft and record-tampering at the school. Another school employee, Andrea Peterson, is serving three years probation for attempted theft. The illegal spending orchestrated by Wilson and others took place in the 2003-04 and 2004-05 school years. At various times, he used public money to renovate his own home, took illegal compensation from the school and used school funds to pay fees and tuition at Xavier University and the University of Cincinnati.
FROM JANUARY 2009: Wilson Willard III, founder of the W.E.B. Dubois Charter School in Cincinnati, will serve four years in prison for theft and records tampering. Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Ralph “Ted” Winkler also has ordered Willard to pay more than $179,000 in restitution, the amount state officials say he stole from the state and the charter school he founded. Willard, 39, pleaded guilty in November to five counts of theft and records tampering. Prosecutors said he overstated enrollment at DuBois and misused state funding for the school, including spending some of the funds on home improvements. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
FROM NOVEMBER 2008: The founder of a charter school founder in Cincinnati, Ohio, has pleaded guilty to five counts of theft and records tampering in relation to charges he misused school funds and services to improve his home. Wilson Willard III, 39, founder of the W.E.B. DuBois Academy, had faced 14 charges, including theft, telecommunications fraud, tampering with school records and unauthorized use of property. Willard founded DuBois Academy in 2000. State officials say falsified enrollment records resulted in some $356,000 in overpayments to the school. Willard also was accused of spending $27,000 in school funds on home improvement projects. He resigned in 2006. (Cincinnati Enquirer)