School directors and administrators have a responsibility to safeguard this information. It’s no wonder, then, that many are giving in to these demands, especially when nefarious nonentities ensure payment is cheaper than any other alternative.
Even so, what a monster you have to be to squeeze schools in order to make a buck!
Given the stakes involved, it shouldn’t be all up to individual districts to stop cyber thieves. The state and federal government should be flexing their muscles to help.
One thing they can do is toughen laws against using ransomware.
Maryland legislators proposed a law to consider ransomware attacks that resulted in a loss of more than $1,000 as a felony, which would then be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 and 10 years in jail.
Current Maryland laws define such attacks that extort less than $10,000 as misdemeanors, while only a breach that results in a loss of greater than $10,000 is a felony.
Federal and state governments could at least offer grants to update school cybersecurity to make such attacks more difficult. Otherwise, the burden becomes an exponential increase in the cost of doing business for schools which can only be made up by increasing local taxes and/or cutting student services.
Another option would be setting up a federal program to step in whenever schools are victims of ransomware. After all, these are public schools! If they were under attack by armed terrorists, the federal government wouldn’t think twice before jumping in.
With federal resources, perhaps we could stop all schools from ever paying these ransoms again. Because that’s the only way to truly end these cyber attacks.
As long as schools and governments are willing to pay, there will be trolls unscrupulous enough to take advantage.
Ransomware has been around since at least 2012. The largest incident so far came last year with the WannaCry attack which infected more than 200,000 computers in about 150 countries, including the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, at a cost of about $4 billion.
It’s past time we got serious in dealing with these cowards.
That’s incredibly significant – especially for an industry that enrolls about 35,000 students across the state.
These are charter schools operating without a charter. They only get the right to operate because a local school district or the state has signed a contract allowing them to do so.
If you hire a plumber to fix your toilet, you give him the right to enter your house and do what needs to be done. That doesn’t mean the plumber can walk in anytime he feels like it. There is a limited term of service. Once that term is up, the plumber needs to get out.
In the case of these cyber charters, the authorizer is the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE).
Charters are initially issued for three to five years. They are an essential contract between the schools and the supervisory body. The school details how it will operate, what curriculum and education strategies will be used, etc.
The state has the option to revoke the charter if the school violates its agreement or fails to meet requirements for student performance or fiscal management.
After the initial period, charters must be renewed every five years in the state.
Yet for the majority of the Keystone state’s cyber charter schools, this has not happened. The charter agreements have been left to lapse without any decision being made by state officials to renew or cancel them.
Some of the reluctance to decide may stem from the fact that the state Charter Appeal Board – the body which decides on appeals of charter applications – are all serving out expired terms, themselves. They were all appointed by the previous governor, Republican Tom Corbett, a notable privatization ideologue.
The current Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat now elected to his second term of office, still hasn’t gotten around to appointing new ones.
Another issue gumming up the works could be staffing issues at PDE that make it impossible to handle the reviews in a timely manner. It could be because the cyber charter schools have not provided all the data required of them by the state for the review to be completed on time. Or it could be because state officials are struggling with a fair and adequate metric with which to assess these schools.
Even the state’s own data shows lower graduation rates and standardized test scores at cyber charters than at traditional public schools.
According to a 2015-16 state PDE report, about 86 percent of public school students across the Commonwealth finished high school in four years. During the same time, only about 48 percent of cyber charter school students graduated in four-years.
And when it comes to special education funding, it gets worse. In Pennsylvania, our funding formula is so out of whack that charters schools of all stripes including cyber charters often end up with more funding for students with special needs than traditional public schools get. However, because of this loophole in the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania online charters have been increasing the number of special education students they enroll and even working to label as many of their students as possible as needing special services on the flimsiest of pretexts.
PA Cyber Charter founder Nicholas Trombetta was found guilty of tax fraud in relation to the theft of public funds. He used that money to buy an airplane, a $900,000 condo, houses for his girlfriend and mother, and nearly $1 million in groceries and personal expenses, according to the grand jury. Trombetta allegedly set up numerous for-profit and nonprofit businesses to provide goods and services to the cyber charter. Federal investigators filed 11 fraud and tax conspiracy charges against him and indicted others in the case.
It’s no wonder the state has been tardy renewing these schools’ charters!
Frankly, there is no good reason to continue lavishing taxpayer dollars on a system of education that provides subpar services at an exorbitant expense and is subject to runaway fraud.
But lawmakers have always been reluctant to do the right thing.
After all, there are a slew of wealthy investors who want to make sure the money train of taxpayer dollars keeps flowing to their shady businesses. And lawmakers who enable them are assured hefty campaign contributions.
With Ohio and California, Pennsylvania was in the “big three” cyber-charter states in 2016, accounting for half of cyber charter enrollment nationally, according to the industry’s authorizers’ association. While 35 states and the District of Columbia allow full-time cyber charter schools, eight do not, including neighboring New Jersey.
The right course is clear.
We just need a people-powered movement to force our lawmakers to do it.
“Specifically, Initiative findings suggest that [school] officials may wish to consider focusing their efforts to formulate strategies for preventing these attacks in two principal areas:
developing the capacity to pick up on and evaluate available or knowable information that might indicate that there is a risk of a targeted school attack; and,
employing the results of these risk evaluations or “threat assessments” in developing strategies to prevent potential school attacks from occurring.”
That means prevention over disaster prepping. Homeland Security and education officials wanted us to pay close attention to our students, their needs and their struggles.
We keep our schools safe by looking to the humans in them and not new ways to barricade the building or watch the whole disaster unfold on closed circuit TV.
The fact is that our schools are actually much safer than the communities that support them. Numerous studies have concluded that students are more secure in school than on the streets or even in their own homes.
If we want to make the schools safer, we need to make the communities safer.
And, no, I’m not just talking about high poverty neighborhoods populated mostly by people of color. I mean everywhere – in our society, itself.
“There is no clear research evidence that the use of metal detectors, security cameras, or guards in schools is effective in preventing school violence (Addington, 2009; Borum, Cornell, Modzeleski, & Jimerson, 2010; Casella, 2006; Garcia, 2003). In fact, research has shown that their presence negatively impacts students’ perceptions of safety and even increases fear among some students (Bachman, Randolph, & Brown, 2011; Schreck & Miller, 2003). In addition, studies suggest that restrictive school security measures have the potential to harm school learning environments (Beger, 2003; Phaneuf, 2009).”
At this week’s active shooter drill in my school, one of the student aides asked the principal when he thought the state would be arming teachers.
For him, it wasn’t a matter of if. It was a matter of when.
The Johnson administration admitted that schools with a high concentration of students living below the poverty line needed extra support to succeed at the same levels as students from middle class or more affluent backgrounds. So the law promised to provide an additional 40 percent for each poor child above what the state already spent per pupil.
And then it promptly failed to fund it. In 1965 and every year since!
These are not just numbers. With this money, high poverty schools could provide:
“health and mental health services for every student, including dental and vision services; and
a full-time nurse in every Title I school; and
a full-time librarian for every Title I school; and
a full-time additional counselor in every Title I school, or
a full-time teaching assistant in every Title I classroom.”
A decade later, in 1975, the same thing happened with The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Congress told local districts they’d have to do more to help disabled students succeed academically. However, doing so costs money. Lawmakers admitted that disabled students cost more to educate and that local districts often struggle to find the funding to help them succeed.
Once again, Congress pledged to pay up to 40 percent of that additional cost, with local and state funds covering the remainder.
Once again, Congress failed to fund it.
STATE AND LOCAL FAILURE
But it’s not just the federal government that has shirked its duties to school children.
Beside the federal government, public schools are funded by their local municipalities and the state. Local governments pay for about 45 percent of school budgets.
However, since most of this allotment is determined by property tax revenues, it ensures the poor get fewer resources than the rich. Kids from rich neighborhoods get lots of resources. Kids from poor areas get the scraps. Inequality is built into the funding formula to ensure that students don’t start out on an even playing field and that economic handicaps are passed on from one generation to the next.
As such, they are in the position to right the wrongs of the local community by offsetting the inequality of local governments – but only 11 states do so. Twenty states close their eyes and provide the same funding to each school – rich and poor alike – regardless of need or what each community can afford to provide for its own children. But 17 states are even worse. They actually play Robin Hood in reverse – they funnel more money to wealthier districts than to poor ones.
As a result, schools nationwide serving mostly students of color and/or poor children spend less on each child than districts serving mostly white and/or affluent children.
Nearly every state levies a much greater share of taxes from low- and middle-income families than from the wealthy.
And that’s before we even start talking about corporations!
While the US federal corporate tax is 35 percent, the effective tax rate that corporations pay after loopholes and deductions is only about 14 percent. This costs the federal government at least $181 billion in annual revenue, based on 2013 estimates by the Government Accountability Office. Local and state corporate tax and abatement programs make it even worse.
This is a choice. We are not requiring the rich to pay their fair share.
“In 2017, the National Association of School Resource Officers claimed that school policing was the fastest-growing area of law enforcement. The school safety and security industry was reported to be a $2.7 billion market as of 2015. Most of that $2.7 billion is public money now enriching the private security industry instead of providing real supports to students.”
According to the US Department of Education, 1.6 million students go to a school that employs a law enforcement officer but not a guidance counselor.
That is not an unalterable economic reality. It is a failure of priorities. It is the mark of a society that is not willing to help children but will swoop in to punish them if they get out of line.
Cost studies in San Diego, Los Angeles, Nashville, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Durham and other localities have come to the same conclusion: “the privatization of schools has contributed to austerity conditions in traditional public schools.”
Yet Congress continues to appropriate millions of dollars to the Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP), which funds new charter start-ups and expansions. The program has a budget of $500 million this year, alone. It is the largest single backer of charter schools in the nation.
According to the report, “In other words, the U.S. Department of Education is operating a program that directly undermines public schools.”
But the report isn’t just about what’s wrong. It outlines how we can make it right.
A. “Make the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.
Rescind the 2017 tax code changes, which overwhelmingly favor the top 1 percent of income earners.
Close the federal carried interest loophole, a step that could increase federal revenues by between $1.8 and $2 billion annually or, according to some researchers, by as much as $18 billion annually.
If the carried interest loophole is not closed at the federal level, states can impose a surcharge on carried interest income at the state level, raising millions for state budgets.
Enact so-called “millionaire’s taxes” that increase the tax rate on a state’s highest earners. New York and California have already passed such law.
B. Require wealthy corporations to pay their fair share.
End or reduce corporate tax breaks that cost the federal government at least $181 billion annually.
Reduce state and local subsidies to businesses for economic development projects and hold school funding immune from tax abatements.
Enforce and strengthen programs like Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) to ensure that wealthy institutions pay their fair share towards local budgets.
C. Divest from the school-to-prison pipeline.
School safety and security is now a $2.7 billion industry. Much of that money is public money, going to profitable corporations instead of schools.
Divest from expensive security systems, metal detectors and legions of school-based police officers and instead invest in counselors, health and mental-health providers and other supports that make schools safer.
D. Place a moratorium on new charter schools and voucher programs.
A moratorium on the federal Charter Schools Program would free up $500 million annually, which could be used to support the creation of Sustainable Community schools.”
The executive summary concludes with the following statistic.
Even a 10 percent increase in funding for each high poverty student maintained through 12 years of public school can dramatically change the likelihood of academic success. It can boost the chances that students will graduate high school, achieve 10 percent higher earnings as adults and a 6 percentage point reduction in the annual incidence of adult poverty, according to a 2015 report.
“Ten percent is pocket-change for a nation that has orchestrated the rise of an unmatched billionaire class. In the richest nation in the world, it is possible to fully fund all our public schools, and to provide Black, Brown and low-income children with the educational resources and additional supports and services they need to achieve at the highest levels.”
The facts are in, folks.
We can no longer gripe and complain about a public education system we fail to support without recognizing the cause. We have failed to meet our responsibilities to our children – especially our children of color.
The solution is simple – equity.
We need to demand the rich do the right thing.
We cannot achieve greatness as a nation when wealth and privilege continue to shirk their duties and our lawmakers do little more than enable greed and corruption.
There are still a battery of suggested pretests on the state’s wish list – tests that are supposed to predict success on the PSSA or Keystone Exams – tests used to show whether kids are getting the skills they need.
Do you understand it now?
Do you understand it Now?
Do you understand it NOW!!!!!!!?
Of these, the most common is the CDT.
If schools follow the state’s instructions and give students this exam in reading, math and science 3 to 5 times a year, that’s an additional 50-90 minutes per test. That comes to 22.5 hours of additional testing!
So 22.5 hours minus 2 hours equals… NOT A REDUCATION IN TESTING!
Moreover, the CDT test is cumbersome to proctor.
I’ve given my students this test for about seven years now and it never fails to be anywhere from tricky to an outright disaster.
This week, I had a class of students on their iPads unable to log on to their accounts at DRC headquarters. In another group, five students were dropped from the server without warning and couldn’t finish.
Defective software and having to repeatedly log back in to the system are hallmarks of even the most successful CDT session.
Even if you like standardized tests and think they are the best way to assess students, the product and service provided by DRC is extremely low quality.
This is bad assessment supporting bad pedagogy forced on us by bad policy.
But that’s not even the worst part.
Why are we doing this in the first place?
Have standardized tests ever been proven accurate assessments of student learning? Moreover, has it ever been proven useful to give pre-test after pre-test before we even give the ultimate high-stakes test?
(d) School entities shall adopt policies to assure that parents or guardians have the following:
(1) Access to information about the curriculum, including academic standards to be achieved, instructional materials and assessment techniques.
(2) A process for the review of instructional materials.
(3) The right to have their children excused from specific instruction that conflicts with their religious beliefs, upon receipt by the school entity of a written request from the parent or guardians.”
Pursuant to Pennsylvania Code Title 22 Chapter 4, section 4.4 (d)(1)(2)(3) I am hereby exercising my right as a parent to have my child, [NAME], excused from PSSA test prep, including (but not limited to) CDT’s and Study Island because of religious beliefs.
So while Pennsylvania’s lawmakers dither back and forth about the political realities of standardized testing as an accountability measure and as they blithely ignore the threat posed to student privacy by on-line testing, parents can take matters into their own hands.
Your child’s teacher would like nothing better!
Imagine being able to actually teach and not have to spend days of instruction time troubleshooting a Website while corporate lackies cash our check!
Imagine students in school to actually learn something – instead of testing them into oblivion.
Imagine a student raising her hand to ask a question about the curriculum and not the software!
He hates science. He hates schools. He hates teachers. And if students get in the way, he’ll hate them, too.
These are the qualities he thinks Pennsylvanians are looking for in their next governor.
The York Township Republican will challenge incumbent Democrat Tom Wolf on Nov. 6, 2018.
So who is this guy?
Wagner’s a college dropout who made a fortune starting a garbage hauling firm. He became a state senator four years ago after winning a write in campaign during a special election where only 17% of the electorate could be bothered to vote.
And ever since, he’s been consistent about one thing: he really, Really, REALLY hates teachers.
“We have 180,000 teachers in the state of Pennsylvania,” Wagner said in 2015. “If we laid off 10 percent of the teachers in the state of Pennsylvania, we’d never miss them.”
That’s a deficit we still haven’t recovered from. Even today, state schools are staffed at a 10-year low. Class sizes are at an all time high.
Yet Wagner wants to fire even more teachers!?
That’s not the policy of a man who wants to help improve life throughout the state for all. That’s not the policy of a man who wants to help kids learn.
It’s the policy of a man who has a personal grudge against educators.
And his other legislative objectives?
Wagner wants to further slash education funding. He wants to spend whatever is left inequitably. And he really wants to help his heroes Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos enact school vouchers so business people like him can continue to cash in on children from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia and all places between.
By contrast, in his four years in office, Gov. Wolf has pushed to increase education funding, pushed to spend it more fairly, and even cut the time it takes for students to take high stakes standardized tests.
The good news: voters throughout the Commonwealth have never had a clearer choice for governor.
The bad news: when has that ever stopped them from getting it wrong?
“We have created a special class in this state and the special class is the public sector union employee,” Wagner told Keystone Crossroads in a 2015 interview.
“Teachers are doing very well in this state,” he said. “People would be appalled if they knew what their teachers made, in certain areas.”
Unfortunately, Wagner has no idea, himself.
He keeps quoting a bogus salary figure that I’m not going to repeat. It’s not true statewide, it’s not an average, nor is it true in his home district.
In truth, the low end for teachers entering the field nationwide is around $30,000, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). So go to college, get a four – sometimes five – year degree including a rigorous internship of student teaching and you make a mere $10,000 above the most generous minimum wage!?
According to that data, Pennsylvania teachers make on average $63,063 per year. Of neighboring states, teachers in Maryland ($65,247) and New Jersey ($71,687) make more. Teachers in Ohio (59,063) and Delaware ($59,853) make less.
In other words, if prospective teachers want to make more money, all they have to do is switch majors.
That may be part of the reason for our national teachers shortage. Not only have states like ours laid off tens of thousands of educators, many don’t stay in the field if given the chance. Across the country , 46 percent of educators quit before reaching the five year mark. And it’s worse in urban districts, where 20 percent quit every single year!
“There are teachers that will exceed expectations while teaching a classroom of 100 of the toughest-to-teach students. There are also teachers that would struggle to teach just one student at a time. I want the first teacher to make a small fortune, and I want the second teacher to find a new career that is better suited for him or her.”
So if you teach the best students, you should make the most money? And if you teach struggling students, you should be fired?
But It’s Not Just Teachers. He Hates Other Working People, Too
If there is a corner to cut, he wants to take it – especially if it screws a working person. As a state senator, Wagner even introduced a bill that would exempt school districts from paying laborers the “prevailing wage” on construction projects.
Cheaper labor, shoddier work. That’s surely a recipe for success in buildings housing school children!
I’m sure reducing teaching to a career without benefits, workers rights or protections will do wonders for the educational quality students receive.
Teachers working conditions are students learning conditions. Putting children in a building that has fewer safety precautions because there’s no union to collectively bargain for them is a great way to cut costs. But parents aren’t thrilled about having their kids try to learn in a sweat shop filled with Trump brand Russian asbestos.
Charter schools, funding private and parochial schools with public tax dollars. He’s in for all of it.
So long as it hurts public schools and enriches private businesses without helping students learn at all.
Go ahead! Take scarce funding from public schools and divert it to programs with little to no accountability. Let private school operators fraudulently misrepresent enrollment data. Let them fail to provide safe and academically appropriate learning environments. Let them game the system in any and every way.
That’s what Wagner calls fiscal accountability.
It doesn’t matter that these schools don’t improve student achievement. Evaluations of voucher programs in Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C., have all found no statistically significant differences in the academic achievement of voucher students compared to public school students. And recent evaluations of programs in Ohio, Indiana, and Louisiana revealed that voucher students scored lower than their peers attending public school.
But who cares about facts? This is all ideology for Wagner.
Vouchers have a record of undermining student’s civil rights – especially students with disabilities. Private school students give up due process and other rights guaranteed in public schools. Private schools are allowed to discriminate by denying admission based on religion, sexual orientation, citizenship status, English language proficiency and disability. Private schools that enroll students with disabilities may decide not to provide the services or accommodations guaranteed to such students in public schools. Or they may charge parents extra for them. Moreover, there is nothing to stop them from segregating these kids from other children. And, finally, private schools often suspend or expel students without due process.
This may be Trump and Wagner’s ideal. But it is certainly not what Commonwealth voters want for their children.
He Wants to Get Rid of Many State Colleges
Wagner caused an uproar when he said the state’s 14 state colleges will not be around in four years. “So, for those of you who think your school’s going to be around four years from now, it isn’t going to be around,” Wagner said.
Fewer institutions of higher learning. Fewer opportunities to get a college degree. That sounds like the policy of a college dropout.
But that’s either too complicated for Wagner or he just doesn’t care.
He supported Gov. Corbett’s plan to decimate Pennsylvania’s schools. And he doesn’t think the culling should be over.
When asked point blank about Corbett’s cuts in 2011, he said, “Yes, I believe that Governor Corbett needs to stick to his plan.”
He’s said repeatedly that we spend “enough money” on public schools, while stressing the need for frugality and fewer regulations.
He Wants to Play with How Schools Are Funded
He’s an advocate for legislation that would eliminate school property taxes and replace them with increased state sales and income taxes.
True we need a better funding mechanism than local property taxes. But you can bet Wagner’s plan is worse than the current system.
It would lock funding inequities among Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts into place.
He Thinks Global Warming is Caused by the Earth Getting Closer to the Sun
Wagner is an incredibly stupid man who thinks he’s rather intelligent.
But of all the dumb or evil things that come spewing out of his mouth, this one has to be my favorite.
When asked about global climate change, he didn’t simply deny that it was happening. He had an alternative theory to why it was taking place.
It’s not business and industry or fossil fuels that is causing global temperatures to rise. He actually said that it’s because the earth is getting closer to the sun every year. Another cause? Human bodies on the planet are giving off enough heat to raise the global temperature.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that a person who hates schools and teachers so much knows very little, himself.
These comments made him a national laughing stock.
His words were repeated on every late night comedy show across the country for giggles and guffaws.
The question is “Will the joke be on us come Election Day?”
It’s not “How dumb is Scott Wagner?”
It’s “Is Pennsylvania dumb enough to vote for him?”
NOTE: Special Thank you to Sue Goncarovs for the Wagner cartoon with which I began this piece. I love your work!
That’s less than two years in jail for defrauding tens of thousands of students and multiple districts across the Commonwealth.
In addition, once he serves his time he’ll be on probation for 3 years.
And even though there is no mystery about the amount of money he defrauded from the Internal Revenue Service by shifting his income to the tax returns of others – $437,632, to be exact – the amount he’ll have to pay back in restitution is yet to be determined.
One would think that’s easy math. You stole $437,632, you need to pay back at least that amount – with interest!
And what of the $8 million? Though I can’t find a single explicit reference to what happened to it in the media, it is implied that the money was recovered and returned to Pa Cyber.
Yet there seems to be no discussion of a financial penalty for embezzling all that money. If my checking account dips below a certain balance, I’m penalized. If I don’t pay the minimum on my credit cards, I’m charged an additional fee. Yet this chucklehead pilfers $8 million and won’t be docked a dime!? Just paying it back is good enough!?
But what makes this sentence even more infuriating to me is the paltry jail time Trombetta will serve.
They each got three years in prison, seven years probation, $10,000 in fines and 2,000 hours of community service.
So in America, cheating on standardized tests gets you a harder sentence than embezzling a fortune from school kids.
I’m not saying what the Atlanta teachers and administrators did was right, but their crime pales in comparison to Trombetta’s.
Think about it.
Atlanta city schools have suffered under decades of financial neglect. The kids – many of whom are students of color – receive fewer resources, have more narrowed curriculum and are forced to live under the yoke of generational poverty.
Yet their teachers were told to increase test scores with little to no help, and if they didn’t, they’d be fired.
I can’t imagine why they tried to cheat a system as fair as that.
It’s like being mugged at gunpoint and then the judge convicts you of giving your robber a wooden nickel.
The worst part of all of this is that we haven’t learned anything from either case.
High stakes standardized testing has become entrenched in our public schools by the newly passed federal law – the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
And though Trombetta resigned from his post as CEO of PA Cyber in September 2013, cyber charters are as popular as ever.
You can’t turn on the TV without a commercial for a cyber charter school showing up. You can’t drive through a poor neighborhood without a billboard advertising a virtual charter. They even have ads on the buggies at the grocery store!
Yet these schools have a demonstrated track record of failure even when compared to brick-and-mortar charter schools. And when you compare them to traditional public schools, it’s like comparing a piece of chewed up gum on the bottom of your shoe to a prime cut of filet mignon.
Keep in mind there are only 180 days of school in Pennsylvania!
That means cyber charters provide less math instruction than not going to school at all.
When it comes to reading, the same study found cyber charters provide 72 days less instruction than traditional public schools.
That’s like skipping 40% of the school year!
And this isn’t just at one or two cyber charters. Researchers noted that 88 percent of cyber charter schools produce weaker academic growth than similar brick and mortar schools.
They concluded that these schools have an “overwhelming negative impact” on students.
AND THAT’S ALL LEGAL!
In Pennsylvania, nearly 35,100 of the 1.7 million children attending public schools are enrolled in cyber-charter schools. With more than 11,000 students, PA Cyber is by far the largest of the state’s 16 such schools.
If Trombetta had just stiffed Pennsylvania’s students that much, he wouldn’t have been in any trouble with the law.
However, he got even greedier than that!
He needed more, More, MORE!
Justice – such as it is in this case – was a long time coming.
Trombetta was first indicted back in 2013 – five years ago.
He was facing 11 counts of mail fraud, theft or bribery, conspiracy and tax offenses related to his involvement in entities that did business with Pa. Cyber. He pleaded guilty to tax conspiracy almost two years ago, acknowledging that he siphoned off $8 million from The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School.
He has been free on bond all this time.
His sister, Elaine Trombetta, agreed to cooperate with prosecution, according to federal court filings. She pleaded guilty in October 2013 to filing a false individual income tax return on her brother’s behalf and has yet to be sentenced.
It was only yesterday that her brother – the kingpin of this conspiracy – was ultimately sentenced.