The student can't learn if he isn't taught
By Jessie-Lynne Kerr
ORANGE PARK - Two people hired to provide tutoring for students under the federally funded No Child Left Behind program face felony charges after billing the Clay County school system about $9,000 for sessions authorities said never took place.
Sheriff's Office detective Brian Curry said Friday the case came to light in April when the mother of a first-grader called the school system to schedule tutoring for her son because he was not making adequate progress in his studies. The woman was told she could not sign him up because records showed he had already received tutoring.
The woman said she had taken her son to Kids Korner Tutoring, the state-approved tutoring provider for Clay County, but only for an assessment and not for any tutoring.
But Kids Korner said it had 12 hours worth of sessions for each of 10 Grove Park Elementary School students. It charged $75 an hour for the tutoring.
Brown-Kirby is accused of visiting the children's parents and getting them to sign paperwork. Although the children never received the tutoring, authorities said Brown-Kirby forged the parents' signatures on the papers submitted for payment.
"The children are the ones who are suffering the most by this," Curry said, "because they can't apply for tutoring again until the next fiscal year."
School auditors said December billings by Kids Korner were the only ones to show discrepancies. Students for whom payment was made in November did receive tutoring.
The tutoring business has the same address as Graham's home, but the tutoring was provided at the T.C. Miller Service Center owned by St. Simon Baptist Church, where Kirby-Brown was a volunteer. Curry said Graham paid the church $200 for each child recruited for the tutoring program.
Curry said Kids Korner had five employees, including Kirby-Brown, one full-time teacher and three tutors.
Florida corporation records show Graham formed the for-profit Kids Korner Tutoring a year ago.
Graham, whom the detective said has a doctorate in theology, is listed as the head of a dozen other corporations in Florida, including Middleburg College. The college's Web site lists him as chancellor and said the college will open in fall 2008. However, it does not say where it will open, and Clay County records show no property owned by the college or by Graham, who lives in a rented house.
The college is not accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Graham, who was arrested Thursday, was still in the Clay County jail Friday in lieu of $25,000 bail. Brown-Kirby was released Thursday on $5,000 bail.
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