Private Religious School Gets Tax Dollars, Inflates Number of Students, and Makes Kids Beg for Money

For some reason, the Oakland Unified School District in California has helped subsidize the 195 students at Saint Andrew Missionary Baptist Church Private School for 12 years for tens of thousands of dollars.

That’s just one problem.

Here’s another: The school lied about the 195 kids. There are actually fewer than 20.

And those 20 kids are spending time at the local BART (public transit) station panhandling to get even more tuition money:

At least one school board member is taking action, promising to withdraw all funds from the school if cheating is discovered:

“It sends a bad message to the taxpayer, you and I that are providing our taxes to serve kids,” [board member Noel] Gallo said. “For us to have them out there in front of BART stations, trying to collect their own money for their own tuition while we as a taxpayer are subsidizing those efforts is criminal.”

I still want to know why the public school board is subsidizing a religious school in the first place…

And why are these kids panhandling for tuition when they’re not even in the classroom?

And why do they need to panhandle when the school’s already getting tens of thousands of dollars for imaginary kids?!

Oh. This could explain it:

… some of [the money] goes to a teacher who former students say physically abused them and other children.

Oh. This also make sense:

The K-12 school is run by Robert Lacy, 79, a pastor who pleaded guilty in 2007 to theft of government money for taking his deceased father’s Social Security payments.

And here’s an explanation about why they get tax money:

The Oakland Unified School District — which oversees federal funding to aid the education of low-income students and others in private schools — allocated $50,000 this school year to St. Andrew.

And this attempts to explain the panhandling:

Some parents said they paid up to $400 per month for tuition, while others said the school was free — as long as their children raised funds at BART stations.

Goddammit, that’s only the beginning of the corruption. Check out the full story by California Watch’s Will Evans.

(Thanks to Joe for the link)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Andrew Pang

    I remember  when channel 5 had a story about this school 2 years ago. NOW legal action is being taken? 

  • http://twitter.com/Buffy2q Buffy

    Gah!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    There’s just not that many words applicable for something like that.

  • TiltedHorizon

    I love the internet, there once was a time when such examples of Christianity would have gone unnoticed. Now all deniers can see for themselves endless examples that faith does not magically turn bad people good. It gives me hope that one day Christians as a whole will realize the biggest threats to society are not the atheists but their fellow Christians whom they arbitrarily trust.  

  • http://northierthanthou.com/ northierthanthou

    Someone needs to be prosecuted!

  • beijingrrl

    Public funds should never be spent on private schools, especially in California.  I strongly believe that taxpayers have the right to demand accountability when funds are spent on schools.  I legally homeschool my children as a private school in California and the oversight and limitations placed on me are almost nonexistent.  That’s what draws me to use that option to homeschool.  I’m more than willing to pass up on receiving funds to make what I think are the best educational choices for my kids. 

    I have friends who register through virtual and/or physical charter schools and do receive funds to homeschool.  However, they have to prove they are meeting standards a private school does not and do not have complete freedom in curriculum choices.  Sometimes they have to jump through ridiculous hoops, but that’s the price for receiving public funds.

    Sorry, but if a school wants to operate as a private school, they shouldn’t be getting public funds.  They could always apply to be a public charter school and adhere to stricter standards if they want to try some alternate form of schooling and to receive funding.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/FDGYHBEWVNGUG763L5X4TON3JQ Nazani14

    What denomination is the school affiliated with?

  • Peachy Keen

    As much as this story upsets me, the comments on the linked article disgust me even more…

  • Kaydenpat

    Just disgusting.  Hopefully, the guilty parties are fully prosecuted by the state.  Wonder how long this fraud was going on for and why it took so long for to discover it.  Tax payer $$$ should NEVER go to religious schools.  Or you get these type of problems.

  • Den Hickey

    Hmm.. pretty well puts the entire history of religion in a nutshell, doesn’t it?  Lies that bring in huge money, government corruption and pushing of religion, begging for even more money, and skimping on actually helping people.. especially children.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X