In Oakland, California, you may notice students out on street corners, panhandling. Unfortunately, that’s not too uncommon these days – there are too many homeless children desperately seeking aid.
But that’s not the problem here. In Oakland, those kids are raising money for Saint Andrew Private School, a publicly-funded school that often sends students out to raise money by panhandling in dangerous areas, even after nightfall. Said one student, “It’s called interpersonal communications class.” The pastor, Robert Lacy, would apparently drive the kids around in a broke-down white van with no seatbelts, and then drop them off to raise funds.
This school year, the Oakland Unified School District said the school received $50,000 in federal funds. The school reported that it had 195 students. In reality, it has less than 30, perhaps even less than 20. The Oakland Unified School District says it does not enforce federal funding standards. The pastor’s wife reportedly receives $100 per hour for training other teachers; the pastor’s son gets paid $40 per hour.
Oakland Unified spokesman Troy Flint brushed off the scandal. “It’s not acceptable,” he said, “but I think we need to draw a distinction between what’s unseemly and what’s illegal.”