Hmong College Prep Academy superintendent to resign amid investment scandal |

Hmong College Prep Academy superintendent to resign amid investment scandal

Kyle Brown
Updated: October 24, 2021 10:19 PM
Created: October 24, 2021 12:00 PM

The superintendent of Hmong College Prep Academy, which the Office of the State Auditor found broke Minnesota law when making a risky investment in 2019, will resign, the charter school said in a letter to students and families.

Superintendent Christianna Hang submitted a letter to the school board last week stating her intention to step down from her role, the notice says. The HCPA board is set to hold a special meeting Monday to discuss the matter and determine their next steps.

Hang's resignation comes after State Auditor Julie Blaha found the $5 million investment wasn't allowed under Minnesota law. The school now can't account for the whereabouts of $4.3 million in public funds.

The investment was "too risky," Blaha told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS last week.

"The law is clear about which investments a public school can make and so is their policies," Blaha said. "This did not fit those guidelines."

In September, Hang told the HCPA board she would step down from her other role as the school's chief financial officer. At the time, she deferred to the board to make any decision on her status as superintendent, even as Bethel University, the charter school's authorizer, recommended that she be fired from that position.

"There are laws in place to make sure that when we invest schools' money — that's public money — it has to be in a safe investment.," Blaha said. "And, as a result, it is a pretty small list of where a school, or a school district, can invest."

Her office started the investigation six months ago, she told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS and that she has now submitted their findings to the Ramsey County Attorney's Office for review for possible criminal charges. She also said that the HCPA is held to the same legal standards, regarding investments, as any other public school that is financed by taxpayers. 

"We think about how important it is to support our kids' schools and one of the best ways we can do that is to make sure the resources get to the kids and anything that gets in the way of that — we have to stop," Blaha said. 

A spokesperson for the HCPA issued this statement:

"The HCPA is actively managing and resolving a number of administrative and governance issues with our authorizer Bethel University. We are also managing the leadership of the school community. The board has received a resignation letter from HCPA Superintendent Dr. Hang. The board will meet Monday to discuss the topic and next steps forward."

Bethel University will end its relationship with HCPA in 2023. 

Superintendent Hang and HCPA's school board president have not yet returned requests for comment. 

Jay Kolls contributed to this report.

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