The Education Inspectorate files a complaint against the school’s principal, Micha van Dendenen. He heads the School of Personal Education (SvPO), a secondary school with eight campuses across the country. The Minister of Education reported in a letter to the Chamber of Deputies that the Inspectorate suspects that Van Dendren has committed one or more criminal offences.
According to the Inspectorate, the report stems from investigations into school housing and related transactions. The inspection body does not want to go into detail and indicate in relation to the advertisement. Relevant reports are not yet public. Director Van Dendren took the search case to court for not publishing the important reports.
Filing a report against a school board or a school board member is an exceptional step that the inspectorate does not take quickly. The most recent example is the complaint against the Jumarus School Community in Gorinchem last year for discrimination. That school lost its credibility because gay students were treated differently from their immediate classmates.
In the case of SvPO, it will be about finances and the way the school board deals with them. Van Denderen remained under the inspector’s magnifying glass for much longer. Last year, three out of eight schools were rated very poorly. For the Utrecht branch, this was the second time in a row. The ministry subsequently withdrew part of the funding.
The Personal Education School is known for its small classes, lots of student attention and little to no homework. But parents and teachers have been complaining for some time. They talk about an unsafe climate. Previous research by this newspaper showed that Van Denderen has created a complex infrastructure that, according to experts, makes shady transactions possible. The principal of the school provided his children with a mortgage loan through an institution.
Apart from the advertisement, the exact content of which is not known, housing financing is subject to a magnifying glass. The principal uses parental contributions to pay for school buildings. In a letter previously posted by Van Denderen on the school’s Linkedin page, he confirmed that it pertains to school buildings in Hardegaryp, Hoorn, Deventer and Geldermalsen.
The inspectorate is critical of this situation: “The intention is that the voluntary parental contribution is used for what has been agreed with the parents and approved by the participating bodies,” according to a spokesperson. The school’s website states that a contribution of 450 euros is for language trips. According to Van Denderen, the situation is a little different. In his response, he referred to the annual report. It states that the Anbi Foundation, which receives the parental contribution, incurs expenses that benefit the school. As well as housing.
Van Denderen: “Anbi cannot spend the same money on language trips and school supplies because this is not a public benefit. So the school pays them.”
It remains unclear how much money will flow into the property. Van Denderen does not make any statements about this. Between 2018 and 2021, the Van Denderens Anbi Foundation received nearly €2 million in parental contributions.
This is not the first time that the SvPO has not taken a close look at rules on parental contribution that are above the national average. For example, children of parents who could not pay 450 euros per year were excluded from language trips. This is not allowed. The law states that children should always be able to participate in activities, even if parents are unable to pay for any reason.
How the ideal educational model is mired in questionable financial transactions, conflicts of interest, and frustrated teachers
Principal Misha van Dendenen has created a network of school institutions that, according to experts, make suspicious transactions possible.
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