Kinston charter school facing fraud accusations

KINSTON, N.C. (WITN) – An Eastern Carolina charter school is facing accusations of misusing its money based on a report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction.

DPI looked into Children’s Village Academy in Kinston after receiving allegations about a board member misusing school grant funding for personal gain.

The school has two campuses, one for pre-K through 5th, and the other for 6th through 8th grades.

WITN’s Investigative Team looked into these accusations.

Children’s Village Academy or “CVA” is a public charter school, operated by the Children’s Village Academy Foundation, which is a nonprofit.

Some examples of the misuse listed in the report include a loan of $188,000 to the school by Vice Board Chair Peggy Carr. Carr, the report estimates, will have received $155,505 in interest from the loan once it’s paid off.

There’s also a property owned by Carr called the “technology center” that was being rented and used by the school. DPI went to that property and found there was a top floor being used as a U-Haul business. They couldn’t find any documentation showing that CVA agreed to that. However, they were also paying the city for utility bills for both floors.

Another example was a reimbursement of $5,018.62 for loaded backpacks with school supplies. The report said there was no invoice or receipt showing that those items were actually purchased, which it says is an indication of fraud, waste or abuse.

This misuse, the report says, compromised the school’s ability to make payroll. Keep in mind, that these are purchases made using taxpayer dollars.

DPI recommends that the academy repay what it calls “questioned costs” to the tune of $17,134.85 and show evidence of actions taken to correct their mistakes.

We reached out to the Department of Public Instruction, but no one was available to talk today.

WITN also tried contacting Children’s Village Academy but did not hear back.