In the January minutes for the Family Foundations Academy Board of Directors, a notation was made about Chairman Charles McDowell having the board approve an invoice by for a report that was done. The invoice was provided by the Executive Director for both Family Foundations Academy and EastSide Charter School. The invoice, for $10,500.00, was for a report on an Early Learning Academy study. The board approved the payment. The minutes went on to talk about the feasibility of having an Early Learning Academy in New Castle, DE.
According to Dr. Melissa Browne’s LinkedIn profile, she holds two positions right now: the Lead Planner for a Pre-K program at Relay Graduate School of Education in Wilmington and a self-employed education consultant. I looked on Relay Graduate School’s website to see if they have any early learning studies currently going on and couldn’t find any. So was Dr. Melissa Browne using her self-employed education consultant position to do the report? According to Delaware Online Checkbook, she was:
So what is the big deal? Schools pay consultants all the time. But should they be paying the spouse of their Executive Director, Dr. Lamont Browne?
You can read the full board minutes and decide for yourself. For a school that just got itself out of hot water over huge financial issues, is now the time they should be wading in that water again?
Had their board previously agreed to this study where it was notated it could be seen as a conflict of interest? Why yes, they did! Which can be seen in their August board minutes:
How about that. But when I looked in Delaware Online Checkbook, I found no other payments going out to Melissa Browne. EastSide Charter School does have an Early Learning Academy at their school. But it is run by the school. So why is their satellite school paying the wife of their Executive Director to do a feasibility study for $10,500.00 when the Chairman of their board has that capacity in both schools? Wouldn’t the Executive Director know exactly what to do because his wife set up the whole program? Conflict of interest, Delaware style… yet again. And what will happen because of it? Probably nothing…