Parents & Staff To Rally At Thomas Edison Charter School Tomorrow Night

This situation at Thomas Edison Charter School is getting bigger by the day.  Tomorrow night, at 6pm, parents and staff are holding a rally at the school demanding Principal EL be reinstated.  It doesn’t mean he will.  But parents and teachers have had enough and they aren’t afraid to use their voice.

Not helping matters was the closed-door board meeting today.  There was no public notice of this meeting (required by state code, even if it is an emergency meeting).  Even if there is not a quorum, any public board in this state has to follow certain protocol under open meeting laws.  But it doesn’t sound like this board knows state code.  Heck, I’m not even sure they know their own bylaws.

Parents were not happy about Board President Ron Pinkett’s comment on Delawareonline about “Have you seen this neighborhood?”  Many parents have expressed outrage at what they are seeing as an out of touch comment.

Word on the street is that President Pinkett made his own decision to put Principal EL on leave.  Sounds like this guy needs to take a walk.

Will Principal EL grace the halls of Thomas Edison tomorrow morning?  The students won’t be there since it is an “in-service day”, just announced on Friday.  The lack of transparency surrounding this whole thing is appalling.

Developing Story: Thomas Edison Leader Salome Thomas-El Removed From School By Police This Morning

Breaking news: The police just removed Thomas Edison Charter School Head of School Salome Thomas-El from the school.  The Board of Directors was present for this.  Details are sparse at the moment, but from what I’m hearing the board was not pleased about the direction Thomas-El wanted to take the school in.  Apparently wanting more pay for staff and administration is a big no-no.  The teachers are not pleased with the decision and there could be a walk-out.  It looks like there is no such thing as due process at this Wilmington charter school.  More details to come as this story develops…

 

Thomas Edison Charter School DEFINITELY Under Investigation By State Auditor

As I trolled through charter school minutes throughout the day, in-between working on another project, and reading with my son, I got to the last one, Thomas Edison Charter School.  Lo and behold, Thomas Edison is under investigation by the Delaware State Auditor.  While it doesn’t give specifics and why they are being investigated, their July 2015 board minutes give no illusion about this matter.  I first reported this in the Spring, and some folks said I am reading too much into it.  Thank you, I know the difference between an investigative audit and a regular audit.

State Audit Update

Auditors are coming to the school during the week of 07/27/15 to begin the audit.  The auditors are requesting the Board meeting be moved back one week to allow them to meet State deadlines and to report findings to the Board.  The Board did not have an objection to the request.

Back in May, the State Auditor’s office revealed during a House Education Committee meeting on House Bill 186 that seven Delaware charters were under investigation, and they were not light matters.  We already knew about Family Foundations Academy and Academy of Dover.  I soon found out, once again based on board minutes, that Providence Creek Academy was another.  And then in June, I discovered two possible other schools: Thomas Edison and Odyssey Charter School.  The State Auditor’s office isn’t able to verify this information.  While I still haven’t been able to confirm Odyssey, Thomas Edison is definitely number four.  The first three were for financial abuse, involving procurement (purchase) cards and actually opening accounts under the school’s name for personal use.  What has Thomas Edison done to incur this inspection?  I’m sure we will find out soon enough.

Once again, what is the DOE doing about this?  I have yet to hear of any action being taken on Providence Creek Academy and Thomas Edison, even though it is now public knowledge.  Both Academy of Dover and FFA were put on formal review in part due to these kinds of things.  And who are the other three charters?  The wheels on the bus go round and round…

To read the actual board minutes from Thomas Edison’s July meeting, look below:

Thomas Edison Charter School Confirms Communication With State Auditor’s Office, Minutes Show Hiding Information From Independent Auditors & Slams Smarter Balanced Assessment

In their April 27th board minutes, Thomas Edison revealed they have been in communication with the Delaware State Auditor’s office.  While it doesn’t go into specifics, there is a lot of discussion about how to reveal contingency items and how to hide them…

“Mr. Christie stated that to Mr. Velasquez point we have a total of $104,250.00, that we’re saying we have spent this on contingency, but we haven’t really.  Mr. Blocksom asked if this makes us look bad and how would the auditors look at this.  Mrs. Winder stated that our external auditors wouldn’t recognize it, but not quite sure how the State would react.”

As well, the school absolutely kills it in discussion about the Smarter Balanced Assessment which they only refer to as “the test”.  Every Delaware Senator needs to read this report before the vote tomorrow.

The Delaware House of Representatives also need to read this and Pete Schwartzkopf needs to get House Bill 186 on the agenda tomorrow, the Senate needs to suspend Senate rules and skip the Senate Education Committee meeting for this bill, and get House Bill 186 passed before midnight June 30th.  This is a shining examples of how Delaware charter schools openly flaunt their disdain for state code and regulation in terms of financial matters.  They also need to do the same for House Bill 61 and get these charter schools recording all their board minutes and place them on their websites within seven business days.  The days of Delaware charters making their own rules are coming to an end.  And nothing Kendall Massett and the Delaware Charter Schools Network or all the backers, investors, and “non-profit” foundations do is going to stop this.