Nine ousted or investigated in Ohio’s largest charter school network

At least nine employees, from secretaries to school board presidents to founding executives, have been named in two separate internal investigations as family ties link taxpayer-funded jobs in Ohio’ largest chain of charter schools.

The governing board of Akron-based Summit Academy Management, one of Ohio’s oldest charter school management companies, has placed president Gerald Horak, vice president James Bostic and Horak’s son, Joseph, on paid leave, according to the board president of a local charter school that hired the company to run the operations.

Joseph Horak’s wife also works for Summit, though she has not been named in the investigation. The Beacon Journal reported in mid-May that top officers had been removed, but the company has not elaborated on who or the reasons.

And while the private company won’t disclose the nature of its investigation, a second investigation conducted by the schools’ sponsor — a public agency — has uncovered potential conflicts of interest involving school board members and family members who work for the company.

Three school board members, including Bostic’s sister-in-law, have stepped down following a review of family relationships by the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West — which sponsors 24 of the 26 Ohio charter schools managed by Summit.

The sponsor issued letters to the three Dayton, Xenia and Akron charter schools, citing state law prohibiting nepotism and calling the family relationships “potential legal and ethical issues.”

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