Author Topic: Midwest Academy's dealing with Keokuk School District  (Read 1261 times)

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Offline Oscar

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Midwest Academy's dealing with Keokuk School District
« on: July 14, 2011, 03:04:13 AM »
Keokuk School District taking second look at dual enrollment program with academy, By Megan Spees, Gate City, July 1, 2011

Quote
Keokuk School District’s dual enrollment program with Midwest Academy is under review due to special education standards at the state level, the school board learned on Monday.

Superintendent Dr. Lora Wolff said program enrollment has dropped in the past several years from about 300 to high 50s or low 60s.

One full-time and several part-time staff members from the district teach dual enrollment courses through service contracts at the academy facility north of town.

The Iowa Department of Education has ruled that academy students should be taking dual enrollment classes at Keokuk High School. However, Wolff said the academy’s educational structure, in which students must progress through levels to graduate, doesn’t jibe with the traditional high school environment.

She added the district must decide “do we continue to work with them or not? How can we continue to serve special ed students if we can’t work with them at Midwest Academy?”

Administrators plan to meet with the school district’s attorney to discuss the matter.

District Business Manager Greg Reynolds said the dual enrollment program is under the umbrella of the state’s homeschool assistance program. The district receives 0.3 percent per student. With 66 academy students enrolled in the program for the coming year, Keokuk will be paid $116,000. That money can only be used for homeschool funding.

The district has $95,000 in carryover funds from homeschool assistance.

It was noted during the meeting that Board President Tyler McGhghy is no longer employed at Midwest Academy.

In other district business, the board voted 3-2 to approve a personnel listing, with nay votes from Chris Lindner and Roger Kokemuller. Board members Sandy Stark and Mark Pfaffe were absent.

Kokemuller, who serves as board vice president, said he doesn’t believe that administrative contracts should be renewed until the district finishes union negotiations.

Lindner echoed that opinion and added, “No one deserves raises until our (students’ test) scores are up.”

Administrative contracts were renewed for Wells-Carey Elementary Principal Russ Derr, $87,000; high school Principal Larry Frakes, $92,000; Reynolds, $89,000; George Washington Elementary Principal Donna Tracy, $87,000; and Wolff, $122,500. Derr, Frakes, Reynolds and Tracy are in the first year of a two-year contract. Wolff is in the second year of a two-contract.

Supervisor contracts were granted for Director of Operations Alan Caudill, $67,400; Network Manager Brent Haage, $57,700; and Cafeteria Supervisor Connie Hauser, $32,330.

Confidential staff contracts were approved for Vicky Brooks, $22,100; Kathy Coovert, $22,600; Cynthia Geltz, $33,000; Nancy Meinhardt, $32,600; Julie Porter, $32,800; and Jill VerDught, $35,000.

The board voted to issue employment agreements for AFSCME (maintenance, custodians, cooks and bus drivers) and UE (clerical, secretaries and associates).

The personnel listing also included:

UE employment agreements for non-certified staff members June Thompson, middle school associate; and Jennifer Chaknine, high school associate. Both employees will be paid $9.56 per hour.

New contracts with certified staff members Nancy Folluo, elementary dean of students; and Matt McGhghy, high school special ed (salaries yet to be determined).

A non-teacher coaching resignation from Carlos Barerra, girls head soccer coach, effective immediately.

A UE employment agreement with non-certified staff member David Sadeghi, high school associate, $9.56 per hour.

A teacher coaching contract with Sadeghi, assistant ninth grade football coach, 7.5 percent of the 2011-12 base salary.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »

Offline Ursus

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Re: Keokuk School District taking second look at dual...
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2011, 08:26:25 PM »
Quote from: "Megan Spees, reporting for Keokuk's Daily Gate City,"
Keokuk School District's dual enrollment program with Midwest Academy is under review due to special education standards at the state level, the school board learned on Monday.

Superintendent Dr. Lora Wolff said program enrollment has dropped in the past several years from about 300 to high 50s or low 60s.
Do I read that correctly to mean that... enrollment at Midwest Academy is down to about a fifth of its heyday?

Quote from: "Megan Spees"
One full-time and several part-time staff members from the district teach dual enrollment courses through service contracts at the academy facility north of town.

The Iowa Department of Education has ruled that academy students should be taking dual enrollment classes at Keokuk High School. However, Wolff said the academy's educational structure, in which students must progress through levels to graduate, doesn't jibe with the traditional high school environment.
Lol. I guess not!

Quote from: "Megan Spees"
It was noted during the meeting that Board President Tyler McGhghy is no longer employed at Midwest Academy.
On top of a vastly decreased enrollment, it also looks like Midwest Academy may have lost their inside man on the local school board. Was this due to a downsizing in the number of service contracts with the Keokuk School District? Or, possibly due to philosophical differences?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 07:00:00 PM by Guest »
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Offline Oscar

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Midwest Academy closing down
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2016, 04:20:47 AM »
Quote
UPDATE: at 5 p.m. Friday – DHS gives parents 24 hours to pick their kids up from Midwest Academy according to a parent.
By Cindy Iutzi, Daily Gate City, January 29 2016

Mark Sobotta of Lindenhurst, Ill., had to leave work early Friday afternoon to drive to Keokuk and pick his daughter up from Midwest Academy. He was not happy about it.

“This is what’s going on and this is my concern,” he said. “Your Health and Family Services of Iowa has infiltrated Midwest Academy and they are giving parents 24 hours to pick up their kids or they’re going to put them in a shelter"

Sobotta said Midwest Academy is being closed.

“There’s not just one child there, there are 100 to 150 children at Midwest Academy,” he said.

Read Monday's Daily Gate City for more about this story.

Updated at 11 p.m. Friday

The Iowa Department of Human Services was called to Midwest Academy Thursday after two search warrants regarding an allegation of sexual abuse were executed at about 12:30 p.m. by state, federal and local agencies.

According to a statement from the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation, DHS personnel conducted 28 assessments at Midwest Academy.

No charges have been filed or arrests made to date. DCI has not received any further allegations involving Midwest Academy.
“Agents continue to work together to thoroughly investigate this very complex area,” according to the statement.
Call 800-225-5324 with information about Midwest Academy beneficial to the investigation.

Agencies involved in the execution of the search warrants include the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation’s Major Crime Unit, Special Enforcement Operations Bureau, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Crime Lab Crime Scene Team, State Fire Marshal’s Division Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, Iowa State Patrol and Lee County Sheriff's Office.

ORIGINAL STORY:

By Cindy Iutzi

dgceditor@dailygate.com

A troubled-youth treatment center and affiliated site, both in South Lee County, were the scenes of a coordinated raid at around noon Thursday with more than 30 law enforcement officers participating.

Two search warrants were executed at Midwest Academy and the former Mithelman Meadows.

The search warrants stem from an investigation into allegations of alleged sexual abuse involving a staff member of Midwest Academy and a former academy student, according to a DCI statement released Thursday afternoon.

Personnel with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation Major Crimes Unit, Special Enforcement Operations Bureau, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, DCI Crime Lab Crime Scene Team, State Fire Marshal Division, Iowa State Patrol Division of Intelligence and Fusion Center, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Lee County Sheriff’s Office conducted the search.

The first search warrant was served at the facility’s main campus, 2416 340th St., Keokuk, and the second at 2818 Highway 218, Montrose.

Lee County Sheriff Jim Sholl said a briefing was conducted at about 10 a.m. Thursday at the Lee County Correctional Center.
He took part in the initial action to help form a perimeter that would prevent anyone from fleeing. No one attempted to leave the grounds, Sholl said.

At about 3:15 p.m., the Midwest Academy grounds were still closed to anyone except employees going to work, a situation enforced by a sheriff’s deputy.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion said Thursday that he was caught off guard by the news.

“I had no forewarning,” Marion said. “I hope this is an isolated incident, not a full-blown investigation.”

No further information was available this morning, although messages were left with DCI Public Information Officer Alex Murphy.
About Midwest Academy

Midwest Academy is self-described as a “therapeutic boarding school (that) has been helping families for more than a decade,” according to the facility’s website, midwestacademy.net.

“We provide struggling teens with a safe, structured and disciplined environment,” the website claims.

The academic program, designed for youth ages 13 to 17, is described as “impactful” along with therapy and seminars, and “provides a safe, comfortable, structured and disciplined environment while offering the industry’s best academics, therapy and seminar programs. Our powerful, proven and unique system teaches teenagers and their families accountability, responsibility, teamwork, integrity, self-awareness and self-reliance.”

Midwest Academy was opened in 2003 by Brian Vaifanua, and was welcomed to Keokuk as a stride in economic development.
At capacity, it would be at 250 to 300 students, according to an estimate by then facility director Ben Trane. In its opening days, there were 14 students and 26 employees, growing to 50 students and 70 employees by the next year. Students could expect a stay of 12 to 15 months with 18 months the ideal duration, Trane said in a Daily Gate City article.

“A merit-based program, students earn everything they have in a six-level program buttressed by counseling, self-esteem building and communication skills education,” according to Trane.

Civil suit

On Jan. 15, 2010, the fifth version of a civil lawsuit against 37 defendants by 133  plaintiffs was filed  in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah by the law offices of Windle Turley in Dallas Texas, and James McConkie II, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Neither law firm claims to be handling the legal matter, representatives said Friday.

The entire 2010 version of the lawsuit can be found at heal-online.org/hurley.pdf.

Among the named defendants are Midwest Academy, Vafanua and the alleged owners of the company.
 “No. 32. – Defendant Midwest Academy is a Limited Liability Company organized under the laws of the State of Iowa, is a ‘WWASPS Enterprise’ associated-in-fact residential school,” according to the lawsuit. “This defendant may be served with process on its registered agent: Mark R. Adams, West Des Moines or this defendant may be served by serving Robert B. Lichfield at 317 Lichfield Lane, Toquerville, Utah or at S1240 E 100S No. 9 St. George, Utah, because Robert B. Lichfield is principal in charge of the entire WWASPS Enteprise, the association-in-fact complained of herein, and this defendant was functioning as Lichfield’s alter ego.”

The lawsuit claims plaintiffs “were subjected to physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse at various WWASPS Enterprise facilities. Such abuses were inflicted on some children for several years. In many instances the abuse could be accurately described as torture of children.”

Calls were made this morning to the Turley and McConkie law firms, but due to the time zone difference, no contact was made.
A news conference was held at 10 a.m. today at the sheriff’s office. An update will be made at dailygate.com after the meeting.


Offline Oscar

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FBI wants your help in the case against Midwest Academy
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2016, 02:39:18 AM »
Quote from: FBI - from a KBUR news article
FBI, urged anyone with information about the Midwest Academy that may be beneficial to the investigation to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

“Perhaps you’ve thought about calling in the past and you haven’t, because you thought you wouldn’t be believed. Perhaps you thought about calling, but you thought your information wasn’t important enough. We want to hear from you. So, please do call if you have any information you think would help this investigation,” Poling said.

Source: No Arrests Made So Far In Midwest Academy Sex Abuse Investigation (KBUR news)