Investigating the cheating allegations that were ultimately determined to be unfounded cost the targeted charter school 100 times more than it did the Capistrano Unified School District.
Both Mission Viejo-based Oxford Preparatory Academy and Capo Unified hired independent investigators to look into accusations that teachers at the charter school cheated to help the students earn high marks on standardized testing.
The students’ scores helped the 1-year-old charter land the highest marks for an elementary school in Orange County.
In the end, both investigators came to the same conclusion: They could not substantiate the allegations.
But OPA paid much more dearly for that third-party review.
“The cost of direct billed expenses to date is approximately $57,835,” said Sue Roche, OPA’s executive director. “This does not include additional time and resources, as well as indirect costs.”
By contract, Capistrano Unified only spent $529.20, said Beverly De Nicola, spokeswoman for the district. That’s because Capo has a $45,000-a-year contract with private investigator T. Davis & Associates of Dana Point.
“T. Davis & Associates do a wide variety of confidential investigations for us, everything from parent complaints to current or former employee investigations, student issues, etc.,” De Nicola said in an email. “In a big district like this, there is always something.”