Charter school admin, aviation program suspended

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Just days before school is set to begin, there are big changes ahead for a group of Albuquerque charter schools.

School board members for Southwest Primary, Southwest Secondary, Southwest Intermediate and SAMS Academy voted Thursday morning to place their high-paid founder and head administrator of those schools on paid leave following an investigation from the Office of the State Auditor and a recently-launched FBI investigation involving the schools.

In a 24-page report released Wednesday, the Office of the State Auditor revealed Scott Glasrud’s quarter-million dollar salary might not be the only way he’s profiting from his schools.

The report questions why the schools have paid Glasrud’s company more than a million dollars in public money for plane rentals and building leases.

In a prepared statement, the board president for Southwest Secondary Learning Center said the boards will make changes to the school’s aviation program in light of the state and federal investigations.

“We will likely have to temporarily suspend the pilot program until we can make alternative arrangements to provide aircraft and are assured that the program meets the objectives of the high schools’ missions,” Turpen said.

Turpen added that the school’s boards don’t anticipate there will be any interruptions to the school year.

State Auditor Hector Balderas says he’s optimistic the boards are steering the schools back in the right direction.

“It’s important that the school board and all oversight agencies commit to protecting the students, the oversight of the students,” he said. “This is a good school, it deserves greater accountability in how it’s managed.”

The school boards appointed Al Baysinger, the current principal of Southwest Secondary Learning Center, to become the interim head administrator of the four schools.

They also voted to approve a contract with the law firm Peifer, Hanson & Mullins to respond to “state or federal inquires into current or former school employees or contractors,” according to the contract.

That firm will be paid $275 per hour and paid for with taxpayer dollars.

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