Education A National Roundup

Jury Convicts Florida Man in K-12 Scholarship Scam

By N Snapshots — November 15, 2005 1 min read

A Florida man was convicted last week of charges that he illegally used payments from a state-sponsored scholarship program that should have gone to help low-income students attend private K-12 schools.

Kirk Isenhour, the chairman and director of the Ocala, Fla.-based Silver Archer Foundation, was found guilty Nov. 10 of grand theft in the first degree, according to a press release issued by Tom Gallagher, the state’s chief financial officer and the head of the Florida Department of Financial Services.

Mr. Isenhour faces up to 30 years in prison.

He was accused of receiving about $400,000 in money intended to pay for scholarships financed by corporate tax credits. He was investigated after state officials grew suspicious that few students were using the scholarship money received by the foundation.

The investigation prompted officials to support stronger financial-accountability rules for state scholarship programs. (“Fla. Vouchers Move Toward Tighter Rules,” Sept. 17, 2003.)

The tax-credit scholarships are paid for by businesses that earn tax credits by donating money to nonprofit scholarship groups that dole out aid worth about $3,500 annually per student. Most recipients attend private K-12 schools. The scholarships are Florida’s largest voucher-like program.

A version of this article appeared in the November 02, 2005 edition of Education Week