Charter Schools and K-12 and Federal Government and Education & Workforce Development and Government & Economic Development and Government and Law

Federal agents seize documents at charter school

June 6, 2014

Federal agents collected documents from the Indiana Math and Science Academy on Wednesday afternoon under a court-ordered search warrant.

The search warrant was issued by a federal court in Ohio as part of a "white-collar" investigation being conducted by the Cleveland office of the FBI, the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Communications Commission, according to FBI spokeswoman Vicki Anderson. She could not divulge any other details about the investigation.

Indiana Math and Science Academy is managed by Concept Schools Inc., an Illinois-based organization that manages 30 charter schools. Nine of those schools are in the Cleveland-Dayton area of Ohio.

Concept Schools operates three charter schools in Indianapolis, with combined enrollment of nearly 1,400. The school that was searched in Indianapolis is located at 7435 N. Keystone Ave. It enrolled 591 students in the most recent school year, which concluded last month.

Katherine Beckwith, a spokeswoman for the school, said in a prepared statement that the documents were part of an audit the U.S. Department of Education was conducting of the federal “e-rate” grant program.

The e-rate program provides money to help K-12 schools pay between 20 percent and 90 percent of the cost of phone and Internet service. Participating schools must conduct a competitive bidding process to select the most cost-effective providers of phone and Internet services, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which administers the grant program.

"Earlier this week we were asked to provide information to U.S. Department of Education officials as part of a larger federal audit of e-rate technology grants,” Beckwith said in a statement. “Those officials indicated they are auditing the funds dispersed to various schools to verify that work paid for with e-rate grants was completed as reported. We were happy to provide them with records and supporting materials detailing how e-rate grants were spent at our IMSA North school, so that they can successfully complete their audit."

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