By Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah education officials say they will audit a charter school over its reporting of special education funding.

The Utah Board of Education said it has been unable to find evidence that public funds were properly spent by American Preparatory Academy, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Saturday.

The audit beginning this month will attempt to determine whether there needs to be a partial or full repayment of more than $4 million in funding, officials said.

The academy’s special education expenditures were not properly documented and the state therefore assumes the funds were not spent on students with disabilities, officials said.

Repayment is required without that accountability, officials said.

The Draper-based school with six campuses and 5,000 students denied any misappropriation or fraud.

An investigation began last spring when the school requested an annual reimbursement from the state education board for money spent on special education during the 2018-19 school year, officials said.

Utah requires schools to use a set number of codes to record the use of special education funds, which are awarded based on numbers of special education students and teachers who work with them. The reports are subject to annual review.

State officials discovered “several unallowable activities” and raised questions about accounting systems and transparency at American Preparatory Academy, according to documents including emails, letters and notices of noncompliance from March through January.

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