Copyright © 2014 Albuquerque Journal
Scott Glasrud resigned Thursday as head administrator of the four Southwest Learning Centers schools he helped found, after the FBI raided his headquarters and the state auditor issued a scathing report about conflicts of interest and “potential violations of law” involving two of the schools.
Glasrud on Thursday gave his written resignation to the schools’ four governing councils, said Christopher “Kit” Turpen, a member of the Southwest Secondary Learning Center’s governing council.
The resignation is effective immediately.
Glasrud is one of the founders of the Southwest Learning Charter Schools – Southwest Secondary Learning Center, Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy, Southwest Intermediate Learning Center and Southwest Primary Learning Center.
The governing councils accepted Glasrud’s resignation after meeting in closed session for three hours, Turpen said.
“There’s still a lot of questions that we’re wading our way through,” Turpen said after the meeting, saying the schools are working to address concerns raised by State Auditor Hector Balderas and are waiting for the results of the FBI investigation.
Two weeks ago, FBI agents seized documents from Southwest Learning Centers’ location in the Northeast Heights.
And last week, State Auditor Hector Balderas released an audit report that found two of the schools “failed to follow a transparent competitive bidding process” when contracting with a private company owned by Glasrud.
Southwest Secondary Learning Center and Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy, which share an aviation program, spent $1.1 million on plane rentals from Glasrud’s Diamond Aviation, the audit said.
Glasrud is co-owner of Southwest Educational Consultants Inc., a private company that also does business under the name Diamond Aviation, according to the audit.
Conflicts of interest occurred on numerous occasions in recent years when the two schools contracted with Diamond Aviation, Balderas said in a letter to the schools’ governing councils.
For example, at times, Glasrud signed charter school checks payable to his own private business, the audit said.
The audit also said that, in one case, Glasrud recommended that Southwest Secondary Learning Center’s governing council approve a $30,500 contribution payment “that enhanced his personal financial interest in his retirement plan.” He signed the school’s check for his contribution.
Glasrud had four separate employment contracts and his total annual compensation was about $240,000.
The governing councils named Al Baysinger as interim head administrator for the four schools. Baysinger was the principal of Southwest Secondary Learning Center. Turpen said the governing councils trust Baysinger will do a good job. They did not discuss hiring a full-time replacement Thursday.
The four schools are back in session. Last year, total enrollment was 767, according to Public Education Department data.
The Public Education Commission – which is the charter school’s authorizer – is scheduled to discuss concerns with the Southwest Learning Centers on Tuesday during its meeting in Albuquerque. The meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. and will be held at the Hotel Eleganté, 2020 Menaul NE.