WEST VALLEY City, Utah — The Utah State Charter College Board is pursuing up on a FOX 13 investigation into a public school that has ties to a polygamous spiritual team.
The findings of a workers audit have still left the board asking the same critical queries elevated by our reporting since December.
FOX 13 Investigates: General public college with ties to polygamous sect is 100% white
Vanguard Academy in West Valley Metropolis carries on to get millions of dollars in public money, even with the actuality that its college students and lecturers almost completely belong to the similar polygamous religious group recognised as the Kingston group, or Davis County Cooperative Modern society.
Community faculties are not authorized to discriminate on the foundation of race or faith, many thanks to the separation of church and point out recognized in the United States Structure.
Previous Utah Legal professional Normal Mark Shurtleff has referred to the Kingstons as “an arranged-crime relatives,” thanks to its members’ roles in the Washakie Renewable Energy fraud scenario.
Community school with ties to polygamous sect beneath investigation by Constitution Faculty Board
The Southern Poverty Law Heart has labeled the Kingston Team a detest group since 2017.
FOX 13 was the to start with information corporation to expose the findings of in depth investigation into the paying and admission procedures of Vanguard Academy.
According to an audit produced by the Utah Condition Charter College Board, workers credit rating “various problems and media inquiries” for its review of Vanguard Academy’s procurement procedures.
Knowledge analyst Brooke Anderson was the initial to observe a just about 100% white pupil inhabitants at the general public university.
Her worries promptly shifted from matters of segregation to religious discrimination and likely fraud.
“There is a large amount going on that demands to be investigated,” Anderson acknowledged. “I’m hoping that we just end spending them hundreds of thousands of pounds a yr to run a whites-only charter school, for only the small children of their very own cult.”
When Vanguard Academy utilized for its constitution in 2014, leaders promised a goal of 20% minority enrollment.
The faculty has fallen 20% limited of that objective.
Vanguard Academy’s principal explained to me the college will prioritize siblings, not minorities, in future admission lotteries. pic.twitter.com/dEqGelz6PF
— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) December 11, 2020
Though the audit did not deal with Vanguard Academy’s racial disparity, Utah Point out Constitution Faculty Board employees investigated the school’s expending habits.
It listed eleven findings that are “not fixed,” because of to responses from Vanguard Academy that have been “not realistic or adequate.”
Among the findings, the audit confirms FOX 13’s reporting, that Vanguard Academy paid out hundreds of hundreds of dollars to Kingston-affiliated firms.
“7 out of the 20 vendors examined… show up to have experienced prior particular associations with Vanguard Academy since these business entrepreneurs all share the identical previous identify,” the audit states. “A reasonable person would understand that there was some variety of favoritism or bias that influenced Vanguard Academy’s objectivity in the variety of these distributors.”
In an job interview with FOX 13 past December, principal Suzanne Owen insisted the school’s investing was higher than board.
“We do company with whoever has the small business that will satisfy our demands,” Owen mentioned. “Whether they’re affiliated with any sort of other religion is not part of the system.”
In accordance to the audit, Vanguard Academy’s gym’s web page states “you should be a member of the LDCC in purchase to use the gymnasium facility… [Utah State Charter School Board] team does not know what LDCC stands for.”
LDCC stands for the Latter-working day Church of Christ, the company title for the Kingston group’s church.
FOX 13 requested Owen in December if she experienced heard of either the Latter-day Church of Christ or the Kingston team.
“Properly, I have read of them,” Owen said.
“But you are not familiar with it?” asked FOX 13 investigative reporter Adam Herbets.
“No,” Owen responded. “Properly, like I say, this is a public charter college.”
FOX 13 has due to the fact figured out Owen’s solution was much less than straightforward.
Numerous past and present associates of the Kingston family verified Owen is one particular of the “religious” wives to Hyrum Kingston.
“It really is a very well-regarded simple fact that Suzanne [Owen] is married to Hyrum Kingston, which is the leader’s brother,” stated previous member Amanda Rae. “It was so challenging for me not to snicker [when I saw that].”
Previous month, Vanguard Academy principal Suzanne Owen instructed me she experienced only “read of” the Kingston team and the general public college has “no ties to polygamy.”
A number of previous + existing users of the group have considering the fact that attained out to say she is in truth 1 of the wives to Hyrum Kingston pic.twitter.com/4yJY6zxnMi
— Adam Herbets (@AdamHerbets) January 15, 2021
“It informed me that [Owen] is incredibly ready to lie, and she’s keen to lie on digicam,” claimed Anderson. “It should issue every single member of the Constitution Faculty Board.”
Vanguard Academy’s schoolhouse is owned by Ensign Finding out Centre, a non-earnings going through a separate IRS criticism.
Ensign Studying Heart is also operate by the Kingston family.
The audit lists a number of “achievable resolutions” or “tips” pursuant to its findings, many of which Anderson thinks are not stringent plenty of.
“The suggestions are inquiring [Vanguard Academy] to do their paperwork greater, and which is not the issue,” Anderson said. “The paperwork is not the root induce. The root cause is that we obviously have a college getting run by a regional cult, the Kingstons.”
Anderson mentioned she was extremely involved that the Utah Point out Charter College Board could turn a “blind eye” to FOX 13’s reporting, alongside with publicly readily available articles detailing the inner workings of the polygamous sect.
“Vanguard Academy should eliminate their charter. They should really not be working as a charter college. They ought to not be acquiring taxpayer funding,” she explained. “With all of that community facts, I would hope that would be taken into account, where the Constitution University Board is not just placing blinders on.”
Vanguard Academy staff members will be specified an additional opportunity to present explanations at a public Utah Condition Charter Faculty Board conference on Thursday.
Government Director Jennifer Lambert claimed the board will then have an selection to just take what ever motion they deem acceptable.
“It really is assumed that they do exercise polygamy,” Lambert said. “There is no regulation that necessitates a college to have consultant demographics, even so, they’re not authorized to choose and select students dependent on race or religion… Any time we see deficiency of range, it leads to us concern. The problem is what legal tools do we have to react to that?”
“For me, this will explain to me if we can govern our charter colleges in any acceptable way,” Anderson reported. “This [school] just isn’t for your personal interests. This is just not for your private earnings. This isn’t really for only your have small children. This is a public resource… This is the worst-circumstance scenario for a charter school that I can believe of.”
The comprehensive audit can be go through on the internet listed here.