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Cyber school fires 4

September 20, 2012
By MATTHEW WHITE - Staff Writer , Morning Journal News

MIDLAND, Pa. - The board of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School fired four top administrators and severed ties with its legal counsel, a spokeswoman for the school confirmed Tuesday.

The school's finances have been under the scrutiny of federal investigators looking into former CEO Nick Trombetta's other organizations.

Spokeswoman Christina Zarek told the Associated Press the school's executive director, Andrew Oberg; finance director, Scott Antoline; personnel director, Nancy Yanyanin; and compliance officer, Judy Shopp, were fired by the board, although she would not comment on whether or not their dismissals were related to the federal investigation.

Also dismissed was the law firm Barry & Worner, LLC, which has served as the school's long-time legal counsel. The firm said in a press release is was shocked by the action, the Associated Press reported.

In July officials from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service's Criminal Investigations Division and the U.S. Department of Education's Office of the Inspector General Investigation Services conducted searches at several locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio, including the cyber charter school and the National Network of Digital Schools (NNDS) in Beaver, Pa., which manages PA Cyber.

Records were also subpoenaed from Calcutta-based Avanti Management Group, a consulting firm founded by Trombetta subsequent to his establishment of NDDS.

The target of the investigation is not clear, although federal officials have previously said the school was not a target while collecting financial records involving past and current vendor agreement contracts.

According to its website, the PA Cyber was formed in 2000, under the leadership of Trombetta, who served as superintendent of the Midland Borough School District at the time. Trombetta resigned from his position as CEO of the school at the end of June, and was replaced on an interim basis by Michael Conti, one of two top administrators not fired by the board.

According to the AP, the school has about 10,000 students. Around 900 more are in the application process, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and last year the school graduated nearly 1,300 seniors in what it billed at the largest graduating class in the state.

PA Cyber School is a public school that does most of its teaching online and is open to students throughout the state. When a student enrolls, his or her home school is compelled to pay tuition at a similar rate to what it pays per students in its own district.

The board's next meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. Oct 15 at the school.



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