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Rooted School becomes latest school to replace bus contractor accused of fraud

April 22, 2019, New Orleans, LA — Rooted School students will now receive bus services from a new company effective Monday (April 22), after the Scholars First Transportation company cut ties with the high school last week.

The three-year-old Uptown school’s board of directors voted April 16 to establish a new student transportation contract beginning April 22 through the end of the school year, according to Rooted chief operating officer Adrien Maught on April 17. The vote was in response to Scholars First announcing they would be terminating services effective April 19, Maught stated April 18.

The school’s decision comes after investigators from the Louisiana Department of Insurance Fraud this month issued cease and desist orders to Scholars First. The company certified its insurance coverage to charter schools in the city using altered insurance certificates and altered Louisiana auto insurance identification cards, according to the department. WWL-TV last month first reported on the company’s insurance documents.

Scholars First is owned and managed by Gonzales resident Melvin Williams and New Orleans resident Jeramy Jackson, the state Insurance Department stated. The company has also served charter schools managed by Einstein Charter Schools, the New Beginnings Schools Foundation, Success Preparatory Academy and Foundation Preparatory Charter School.

Einstein’s board, however, cut ties with Scholars First earlier this month due to the investigation. The New Beginnings charter board this month also voted to hire a new bus company, The Lens reported.

Scholars First and the company’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment Monday.

Maught stated Rooted is now providing student transportation through the Florida-based A&S Transportation company. A&S Transportation got its start catering to parochial and private schools, but has grown steadily since its inception, expanding its service to charter schools throughout Florida, according to the company’s website. The company also provides bus services in Baton Rouge and Iberville parishes.

Enrollment data from the state Department of Education shows Rooted enrolls 97 students at the Touro Synagogue on St. Charles Avenue. The school has a “B” letter grade from the state in terms of overall performance and student “growth,” which measures students’ progress over the course of a school year.


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