The executive director of an online learning charter school has been placed on leave while the school’s attorney conducts an internal investigation. Why he is being investigated was not disclosed.

Richard Mestas, executive director and principal of GOAL Academy High School, the state’s largest alternative-education program, has been placed on paid administrative leave during an internal investigation, says the school’s attorney, Dustin Sparks of Monument.

Sparks said Thursday he is conducting the investigation…

Mestas, a Pueblo native, had been acting as executive director since July 2016 before being named sole finalist for the position in February 2017.

He has been affiliated with GOAL, an acronym for Guided Online Academic Learning, since 2007, when he was principal of Dolores Huerta Preparatory High School, a charter school in Pueblo.

Dolores Huerta and GOAL, which became a separate school in 2008, were two of five charter schools in the Cesar Chavez School Network.

But the for-profit education management group experienced massive internal strife. At one point, Mestas was said to be held against his will in his office and physically threatened by the network’s chief executive officer.

The state education department threatened to close all the schools amid staff upheaval, financial mismanagement and allegations that Cesar Chavez School Network was misusing taxpayer money, based on an independent audit. Instead, the schools were released from the network in 2009 and allowed to operate independently.

The management network dissolved in 2010.

GOAL was authorized under the Colorado Charter School Institute but petitioned Falcon D-49 to come under its wing in 2012.

D-49’s board approved a three-year contract extension with GOAL on Feb. 8, accepting a revised budget of $31.3 million for this school year and requiring the school to remain in good academic standing.

Is the problem academic or financial?

Stay tuned.