Now that the Delaware Met is closing down a month after it opened them, many in Delaware are asking “what the hell happened?” Don’t worry, I’m in that same group. In all my time doing this, I never got a lead that turned into something solid within hours, much less a lead that announced the closure of a charter school that no one seemed to be any the wiser about their difficulties. But my big question surrounds their management organization: Innovative Schools. What did Innovative Schools actually do that warranted them receiving $380,000 since July of 2013? And why were there employees being paid since July 2013 as well when the school didn’t even open until two years later?
From July 2013 until March 2014, we see salaries going out twice a month ranging from $3,245.19 to $4,110.59 (only once for this one, ironically, 12 days before Christmas). Then in March, it bumps up to around $5,400 a month, but then back down to $2,700 in June. Who was getting paid these funds? And for what? Meanwhile, Innovative Schools had over $380,000.00 in 26 months on their tab. That’s some serious coin for a charter that hadn’t even opened yet for the bulk of these funds! The Delaware Met website, which hasn’t had any board minutes posted (and their only one) since October of 2014, shows 15 board members. And under the section entitled “School Leader’s Blog”, someone named Tricia talks about how she accepted the position of Head of School in May, 2015. And good luck finding any staff, they don’t exist on the website. Now the DOE website shows the Head of School to be Patricia Hunter Crafton, so I have to assume that would be “Tricia”. But when I emailed the DOE and The Delaware Met for information yesterday, I received an out of office email for Crafton indicating she was out on maternity leave until November. Nash Childs is listed as the President of their Board, but no relation to Great Oaks Charter School leader Kia Childs.
So who was the Innovative Schools lead for The Delaware Met? Innovative Schools website lists Jemuel Anderson as the Operations Manager for The Delaware Met. Now some bell is going off telling me I’ve heard this name before…where…where…where…and then the bell rings! He was one of the plaintiffs when Moyer tried suing the State of Delaware over Moyer’s closure. But Jemuel Anderson’s charter school history goes back beyond even Moyer. He was the topic of many comments over on Kilroy’s a few years ago with the “is he” or “isn’t he” argument going back and forth over whether he was qualified to be a teacher rep on the board based on his lack of certified credentials on DEEDs (the place to look if teachers are certified or not in Delaware). To go from either a one-on-one para (with the same student) for two years at Pencader to an Operations Manager of The Delaware Met for Innovative Schools seems like a pretty good career jump! Astronomical I would say!
I’m just going to take a stab in the dark here and ask the obvious. Could there maybe be some financial issues going on with this school as well? In which case, the date of their official closure will be very interesting to watch. If it is after September 30th, what guarantee does the State of Delaware have to ask for that money back? If it’s already out there that the school is closing, what would happen if every single student left before September 30th? Would they get no funding which would then force them into bankruptcy? And it seems like it doesn’t matter if Innovative Schools cut ties with the school. You know they have to be going “Ka-ching! We got $380,000.00 from a school that was only open a month! Thank you Delaware taxpayers!”
Meanwhile, more Delaware students that are bounced around from Delaware charter to charter to charter are the true victims in all of this. A generation of lost charter school students lost in the even greater sea of lost Wilmington children who are lost in the vast ocean called proficiency gaps.