In West Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground was where I spent most of my days…
Yes, in the KIPP tradition, Dr. Lamont Browne has chosen his successor from his charter school roots, the Philadelphia KIPP charter school network. Welcome to Delaware Aaron Bass! You have some medium sized shoes to fill.
The Delaware Charter School Accountability Committee made it’s final recommendations in regards to Family Foundations Academy. Their decision: the charter school stays open with a probationary status for one year. I think that is more than fair given that the EastSide takeover is an untried experiment in Delaware.
This is a school that had it’s fair share of issues prior to the takeover. Ex Heads of School Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington collectively embezzled over $100,000 from the school and lest we forget, there were many cultural and academic events going on. The Delaware Department of Education and State Board of Education received many complaints about FFA, including special education issues, discipline problems, and staff complaints.
For it’s part, there are several board members at FFA who also serve on EastSide’s board, and many staff members serving dual roles, including the financial director and head of school. Running essentially three schools could be stretching anyone to the max, but EastSide does appear to walk on water.
Given the circumstances with an untested arrangement, what went down at FFA, and the fact that this school was very close to getting shut down, you would think Dr. Lamont Browne and Charles McDowell would be grateful for the reprieve. But no, they have to be arrogant about the whole thing. The fact they would have an issue with the CSAC requesting a different auditor at the end of this year is testament to this fact. The school hasn’t (as of this letter) even had a first meeting with their Citizen’s Budget Oversight Committee, and there is little proof FFA even had one prior to last fall. And given what I’m hearing is going on in charterville with money matters, they should count themselves lucky.
The letter also reported Moore and Brewington reached a settlement agreement. Who was this settlement with? Cause the last I heard the duo were heading to the Attorney General’s office! That would be a criminal matter. Browne and McDowell need to check their egos at the door when they go to the State Board of Education meeting this coming Thursday, March 19th. Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the State Board of Education will render their final decision on the long, bizarre FFA saga.
If East Side Charter School had no board meeting in December, and their January board meeting didn’t occur until January 28th, how in the world did their board approve the loaning out of four board members, their head of school, funds, and teachers to Family Foundations Academy? Why has nobody else even brought up this question? By the time the State Board of Education and Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy decided on the fate of FFA, the East Side board took over the FFA board and had their arrangement in place, with Dr. Lamont Browne serving as Executive Director of both schools. But if the Board never voted on it, who made the decision?
Charles McDowell is the Board President of East Side Charter. He is now the Board President of Family Foundations Academy. He is also on the board of Early College High School in Dover. That’s three charter boards he sits on. Is he the one calling the shots? If you read the last Early College High School board minutes (November 2014), it seems like he is in charge even though he isn’t the board president.
While the East Side/FFA arrangement is unprecedented in Delaware, I would think the East Side Board would have to approve a reallocation of funds of that magnitude and what amounts to a loan. But that is nowhere to be found. And how did the East Side board members take over? Was there a quorum of the old FFA members? Did they vote to add the new members and then resign? Don’t new board members have to wait a month to vote on new items? Hmm, more than meets the eye here. And lest we forget, Kendall Massett at the Delaware Charter Schools Network set up this deal…