Wali Rushdan Gets Senate Approval For State Board of Education AND Explains His Time At Family Foundations

After a crucial Senate Executive Committee hearing, Wali Rushdan was given a unanimous Senate vote for the Delaware State Board of Education about an hour ago.

The Senate Executive Committee met with Rushdan right before the full Senate vote.  I must give props to State Senator Nicole Poore for tackling the elephant in the room.  She just came right out and asked Rushdan about his affiliation with the Family Foundations Academy Board of Directors. Continue reading

Ex-Family Foundations Academy Leader Sean Moore Gets 18 Months In Federal Prison

Finally! I’ve been waiting for this news for a long time. The News Journal reported earlier today that the former Family Foundations Academy Head of School was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for embezzlement.

According to the article, Moore had a bizarre confession to the court:

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Moore claimed “he was suffering from a ‘severe level of sexual addiction and shopping addiction.'”

Alrighty then! Finally this shameful chapter in Delaware public education can come to a close. I highly doubt the school will ever see the return of these funds, but justice has finally been served for this man.

It was three years ago that Kilroy’s Delaware and this blog began to look into the crazy happenings at this school. I spent hours going over their expenses and knew right away something was way off. So did the Delaware Auditor of Accounts office and the Delaware Dept. of Education. It nearly shut the New Castle charter school down. Because Moore used federal funds in his embezzlement, he was brought up on federal charges. The other Head of School, Dr. Tennell Brewington, took state funds so her punishment was not as severe. Last year, Family Foundations Academy changed their name to Charter School of New Castle, perhaps in an attempt to get rid of this dark part of their history.

Delaware Courts Send WRONG Message With NO Jail Time For Those Who Steal School Money

WDEL announced Dr. Tennell Brewington, the former co-head of school of Family Foundations Academy, pled guilty to her role in theft of education funds at the New Castle County charter school.  Her whopping sentence: three years in prison but it was suspended.  NO jail time.  Oh, but she will have probation.  Cry me a damn river!  You better believe if that was you or I working in the private sector, we would be doing time!  But no, not in Delaware, the first to sign the Constitution and the last to follow it.  Sorry, this really pisses me off.

As if education funding isn’t jacked up enough, now our courts are saying it is okay to steal money meant for kids.  But I guess we need to add new buckets on Delaware Online Checkbook.  You know, things like foot massages and pedicures.  Give me a friggin’ break here!  I guess Audrey Erschen and Chuck Taylor from Providence Creek Academy will get lollipops for their misdeeds there.  Or Noel Rodriguez from Academy of Dover will get some more Disney knick-knacks for showing a little remorse.  And the guy from Indian River, Patrick Miller, can get a new boat.  But we will throw kids down the river for much lesser crimes.  This state is so damn corrupt it isn’t even funny.

And what the hell is up with Sean Moore?  That crap isn’t even funny anymore.  He is sitting back and laughing at all this.  These people are getting away with whatever the hell they want.  It appears it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s who you know.  Whose palms are getting greased?  What political favors are going around to avoid prison time for these clowns?  These are kids that are going without.  Our courts are saying they care more about the burden of incarcerating influential school “leaders” than sending an example that it isn’t right to steal education funds.

Some lady stole a ton of money from the Cape Henlopen boosters club for baseball or something like that.  Over $20,000.00.  I can see that example really working there Delaware!  That happened after all the charter thieves got caught.  I suspect there is a lot more of this going on.  Which is why nobody wants to REALLY audit these schools.  Providence Creek didn’t learn their lesson the first time.  They just got better at hiding it.  But like most secrets, they can’t stay buried forever.  But what does it matter?   The guilty will get off easy.  Can’t have all those thieves filling up courtroom space while the courtroom is already filled up with the school-to-prison pipeline kids.  Can’t have that!

Sean Moore From Family Foundations Academy STILL Hasn’t Been Sentenced, Plea Bargain Was Cut

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is “What is going on with Sean Moore from Family Foundations Academy?”  Today, I have some answers.  It turns out Mr. Moore is awaiting sentencing and struck a plea deal to have the charges reduced.  His next sentencing date is August 7th.  This date has changed a few times.  The other former Head of School from Family Foundations Academy, Dr. Tennell Brewington, actually had a court date today but I have not heard what happened at that one.  Once again, no word on Academy of Dover’s former financial scoundrel, Noel Rodriguez except that he was charged by the feds as well.  I also heard Shanna Simmens from Providence Creek Academy is working on some sort of “payment plan” to pay the school back in lieu of charges.  Good luck with that one!  I guess it’s okay for these people to be walking the streets when they took student money from schools.

Below are the court docs that pertain to Moore’s case.  Other documents are sealed.  If the gentleman who called me last February could please call me again, I would love to continue that conversation.  Shoot me an email at kevino3670@yahoo.com.

CRIMINAL DOCKET

UNITED STATES VERSUS SEAN MOORE

PLEA AGREEMENT

What Happened To Sean Moore’s March 2nd Sentencing?

Former Family Foundations Academy charter school leader Sean Moore was supposed to receive a federal sentencing for his role in embezzlement of school funds.  Nothing of record shows up anywhere.  This is very puzzling.  Why wouldn’t Moore have been sentenced?  I received an anonymous tip a couple of months ago that suggested Moore may have cut a deal with the authorities.  Who these authorities may have been is unknown or what the nature of the deal was.  Moore was charged by the federal government so any deal would have been with the feds.

If Moore did cut a deal which would be unrelated to education, many Delaware citizens would be VERY upset.  This was a man who was charged with looking out for the best interests of children.  With a documented amount of over $160,000 stolen from the school, it is painfully obvious Moore had his own best interests in mind.  When the allegations first came to light, many parents from the school refused to believe the leader would ever do this, but when it was revealed he did abscond with money meant for kids, parents were disgusted.  This was just one of a few Delaware charter schools that came under the spotlight for this sort of thing but it had the biggest profile in the media.  If Moore did get a sentencing, it should be public knowledge.  He could have faced up to 30 years for his crimes in federal prison.

This saga has dragged out for years.  It finally came to light in December of 2014 during the school’s charter renewal.  Moore and fellow school leader Dr. Tennell Brewington were terminated.  Other members of the board resigned and eventually the board was reconstructed with new members.  The school entered a partnership with East Side Charter School which is now under the umbrella called Vision Academies.  Family Foundations recently changed its name to The Charter School of New Castle.

Former Family Foundations Academy Sean Moore FINALLY Gets Fed Charges!!!!

moorebrewington

It’s about time!  After almost two years of waiting for Sean Moore to get charged with something, information comes out that he is being charged by the feds for theft.  This very quick blurb in the News Journal states Moore has three federal counts against him.  As most folks in Delaware know, Moore, along with his co-charter leader/co-conspirator Dr. Tennell Brewington, both formerly with Family Foundations Academy in New Castle, DE, got busted after a forensic audit showed they spent over $150,000 in school funds for personal use.  They were terminated and the school could have closed if a nearby charter school didn’t essentially take them over.

I was curious why Moore was charged by the feds and not Brewington.  Either they haven’t announced anything for her yet or her theft of taxpayer money for personal use didn’t involve anything with federal dollars.

Now we just have to wait for the other former charter thieves, Noel Rodriguez of Academy of Dover and Shanna Simmens of Providence Creek Academy, to get their charges.  Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn hinted to me almost a year ago that “other parties” were looking at these situations.  As I waited and waited, with nothing coming out, I took it upon myself to contact the FBI about this earlier in the spring.  I imagine Denn’s hands were tied once the feds became involved and he obviously couldn’t say anything concrete about it.  I’m glad he was on the up and up about it though.

This is the only information I could find on these charges, but it looks like the Associated Press picked up on it because the same story appears in the Washington Post and many other media outlets.  There is an important lesson here: don’t steal from kids.  This is what happens when you get caught!  As more information on this becomes available I will certainly give updates.  I can’t find the actual court filing yet, but once information becomes available, you will know!

Family Foundations Academy Considers Filing A D&O… Say What Now?

On the agenda for Family Foundations Academy’s finance committee, there is a very odd item.  Charles McDowell, also the President of FFA and East Side Charter School’s board, runs this committee.  He is also an attorney and knows his stuff.  So why would FFA potentially file a D&O Insurance Claim?  What is a D&O?

It stands for Directors and Officers.  There are several reasons why a non-profit corporation (which charter schools are) would file a D&O.  From the Travelers Insurance website:

Coverage for defense costs and damages (awards and settlements) arising out of wrongful act allegations and lawsuits brought against an organizations board of directors and/or officers.

Wikipedia goes a bit deeper:

Directors and officers liability Insurance (often called D&O) is liability insurance payable to the directors and officers of a company, or to the organization(s) itself, as indemnification (reimbursement) for losses or advancement of defense costs in the event an insured suffers such a loss as a result of a legal action brought for alleged wrongful acts in their capacity as directors and officers. Such coverage can extend to defence costs arising out of criminal and regulatory investigations/trials as well; in fact, often civil and criminal actions are brought against directors/officers simultaneously. Intentional illegal acts, however, are typically not covered under D&O policies.

I am not aware of any current lawsuits against FFA, but I did go to the Delaware Court Connect website and there is nothing listed there.  Just to be on the safe side, I checked the following individuals as well: Sean Moore, Tennell Brewington, and Charles McDowell.  Nothing with them either.  Which means something may be coming.  So what could possibly cause McDowell and the school’s finance committee to consider filing this type of claim?

All charter schools, as corporations, are required to file an IRS Form 990.  The last one FFA has on their website is from 2012, and it shows Brewington as the Principal Officer and Moore as the Co-Director.  As everyone in Delaware surely knows, the two were alleged to have made out with hundreds of thousands of dollars from the school piggy bank…

Could it be… is it… are we finally going to know something on the fate of the former heads of school at FFA?

Here’s the agenda:

FFAD&O

Paging Matt Denn… Should Ex Charter Leaders Alleged To Have Abused Funds Have “Finance Professional” On Their Linkedin Account?

CharterFraud

Not long ago, Sean Moore was at the top of the world.  He was a co-Head of School at Family Foundations Academy.  Together with Dr. Tennell Brewington they ran a successful school.  To the outside world, the school was doing well.  It wasn’t at the top of the heap, but it wasn’t at the bottom either.  In the Fall of 2014, everything changed when FFA had their charter renewal.  Everything came out: the parent complaints, the conflicts of interest between the school leaders and members of the board, and of course, the financial abuse.

A little over a year later, and Sean Moore has the term “finance professional” on his Linkedin account.  According to the Auditor of Account’s report, released over a month ago, Moore and Brewington still haven’t paid back all the funds they owe the school.  But Moore was able to have enough funds to start his own business, Planet Beach Contempo Spas.  He is listed as the franchise owner.  Aside from his time at FFA, from July 2008-January 2015, most of Moore’s experience has been in business.  In fact, twenty years ago he was an auditor himself!

With all that business experience for twelve years prior to FFA, why would he risk it all by embezzling funds from a charter school?  This is just a guess, but I would surmise he was doing it for so long without getting caught he most likely thought he never would be.  Like many citizens in Delaware, I am wondering when some type of charges will be announced against Moore and the other charter embezzlers.  Academy of Dover’s Ex Leader Noel Rodriguez, Brewington, Moore, and just added to the list last week, Shanna Simmens from Providence Creek Academy.  And we haven’t heard anything about those with lower offenses but still considered to be abuse of funds by the State Auditor’s office: Sally Maldonado with Kuumba Academy and the executive director and board president at Delaware College Prep (who will be shutting down at the end of the school year as Red Clay’s board did not renew their charter in December).

I find it ironic Moore is praising his business acumen and starting his own business.  I’ve said this a million times, but if it was the average citizen, we would be in jail by now…

Family Foundations Financial Fiasco Timeline

For those just now tuning in to the Family Foundations Academy story based on the Delaware Auditor of Accounts investigation released yesterday, I put together a chronological timeline of everything FFA related.  While the News Journal claims to be “following this story since January”, after their forensic audit was publicly released, myself, Avi Wolfman-Arent with WHYY/Newsworks and Kilroy’s Delaware were hammering this story out well before them.  Everything you need to know about the FFA story is in here, along with aspects not even touched on by the State Auditor’s inspection.  Kilroy first broke the news about stuff going on there!

12/12/14: Kilroy found it first while going through the DOE website! https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/something-for-delaware-state-representative-debbie-hudson-re-charter-school-transparency-arneduncan-washingtonpost-edude-netde-dedeptofed-destateboarded-usedgov-educationoig-huffingtonpost/

12/12/14: More complaints coming in for FFA’s charter renewal: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/tnj_malbright-more-family-foundations-complaints-sent-to-the-de-doe-charter-school-office-state-board-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-rceaprez-apl_jax-nannyfat-ecpaige-roof_o-netde-edude-de/

12/12/14: Kilroy finds the numerous attorney fees going out of FFA: https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/12/delaware-charter-schools-are-a-bonanza-for-lawyers-omg-look-at-this/

12/13/14: FFA & DCSN Connections: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/de-charter-school-network-connections-with-family-foundations-academy-disaester-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-tnj_malbright-doverpost-thestatenews-destateboarded-dedeptofed-governormarkell-wsj-th/

12/14/14: Peyton Place & The Satisfaction Officer: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/14/peyton-place-at-family-foundations-academy-the-satisfaction-officer-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-rceaprez-apl_jax-ecpaige-nannyfat-roof_o-governormarkell-delawarebats-rodel-netde-edude-delaw/

12/16/14: FFA under investigation by Delaware State Auditor’s office: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/breaking-news-family-foundations-academy-under-financial-investigation-with-state-auditor-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-apl_jax-rceaprez-governormarkell-destateboarded-dedeptofed-tnj_malbright-de/

12/17/14: Sean Moore no longer on board at Delaware Charter School Network: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/family-foundations-acad-head-of-school-sean-moore-no-longer-treasurer-of-delaware-charter-school-network-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-rceaprez-apl_jax-nannyfat-ecpaige-tnj_markell-avi_wa-wboc-w/

12/18/14: FFA’s fate decided at State Board of Education meeting: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/live-from-delaware-state-board-of-education-meeting-charter-school-decisions-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-rceaprez-apl_jax-nannyfat-ecpaige-roof_o-destateboarded-dedeptofed-delawarebats-netde/

12/19/14: Avi with Newsworks covers the State Board of Education meeting: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/delaware/76455-delaware-shuts-one-charter-school-spares-another

12/19/14: FFA under scrutiny by State Board of Education: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/19/family-foundations-academy-potentially-serious-allegations-of-financial-mismanagement-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-rceaprez-apl_jax-ecpaige-nannyfat-avi_wa-tnj_malbright-delawarebats-netde/

12/21/14: Kilroy ponders on criminal charges for Family Foundations leaders: https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/21/if-allegations-are-substantiated-against-family-foundation-will-their-be-criminal-charges-nope/

12/23/14: FFA Board Meeting: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/23/family-foundations-academy-board-meeting-tonight-kilroysdelaware-ed_in_de-avi_wa-tnj_malbright-netde-edude-edchat-delaware/

12/30/14: The full Auphsite Consulting Family Foundations forensic audit report: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/4423/

12/30/14: Avi with Newsworks covers the Forensic Audit: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/the-latest/76803-audit-details-financial-impropriety-at-delaware-charter

1/1/15: Kilroy talks about their Citizens Budget Oversight Committee: https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/is-family-foundation-keeping-their-cboc-in-the-dark-including-the-de-doe-rep/https://kilroysdelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/01/is-family-foundation-keeping-their-cboc-in-the-dark-including-the-de-doe-rep/

1/2/15: Plea to parents and teachers at FFA to tell the truth: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/family-foundations-parents-and-teachers-its-time-to-tell-the-truth/

1/3/15: The stories pour in from parents and teachers: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/03/a-family-foundations-academy-blast-from-the-past-id-love-to-see-them-try-this-now/

1/4/15: What more could FFA do wrong? You would be surprised: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/uh-oh-looks-like-we-got-a-bleeder-here-what-has-family-foundations-academy-done-now/

1/4/15: FFA was looking for new board members, so….: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/both-moore-brewington-out-at-family-foundations-academy-looking-for-new-board-members-should-I/

1/5/15: Avi covers the “on-leave” status of Sean Moore at FFA: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/the-latest/77006-embattled-charter-head-placed-on-leave

1/6/15: The Bizarro World at FFA: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/06/more-truly-bizarre-family-foundations-academy-stories-surface/

1/8/15: Did something happen at FFA today?: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/what-happened-at-family-foundations-academy-today-reporters-doe-letters-oh-my/

1/11/15: My public comment for FFA’s formal review: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/state-rep-kim-williams-public-comment-on-family-foundations-academy-wow/

1/13/15: FFA leaders fired, big board changes: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/big-changes-at-family-foundations-academy-moore-brewington-terminated-with-cause-board-members-resign/

1/13/15: Avi covers the firing of Moore and Brewington: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/delaware/77260-major-leadership-shakeup-at-troubled-delaware-charter

1/13/15: Avi covers the EastSide Charter School rescue: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/delaware/77263-distressed-charter-cleans-house-enlists-help-of-eastside-charter

1/13/15: State Rep. Kim Williams Public Comment for FFA: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/13/state-rep-kim-williams-public-comment-on-family-foundations-academy-wow/

1/14/15: Details on FFA/East Side agreement: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/has-family-foundations-academy-become-eastside-charter-2-sure-looks-like-it/

1/15/15: Secretary Murphy, State Board and East Side Charter School save FFA: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/family-foundations-academy-fate-decided-handed-over-to-eastside-charter-placed-on-formal-review/

1/15/15: Avi covers the State Board meeting as well: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/the-latest/77394-delaware-spares-troubled-charter-school

1/19/15: Unanswered questions about FFA and financial matters: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/family-foundations-academy-still-has-some-big-unanswered-questions/

2/7/15: Moore and Brewington and their future: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/next-stop-for-ex-family-foundations-head-brewington-moore-attorney-generals-office/

2/14/15: Moore and Brewington want their jobs back: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/14/say-what-sean-moore-and-dr-brewington-want-their-jobs-back-at-family-foundations-academy/

2/15/15: Questions about FFA & East Side arrangement: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/big-question-raised-regarding-east-side-charter-family-foundations-academy-arrangement/

3/16/15: Charter School Accountability Committee’s probation recommendation for FFA & new leaders getting snippy: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/03/16/eastside-and-family-foundations-overlords-getting-rather-snippy-with-doe-overreaching-a-bit/

3/22/15: Diane Ravitch jumps on the FFA story: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/family-foundations-academy-saved-by-state-board-as-they-get-ravitched/

4/7/15: FFA’s probation letter and news about Tennell Brewington: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/04/07/family-foundations-academy-their-conditions-for-probation-news-that-will-make-ja-flip-out/

7/17/15: FFA submits major modification to change locations for both schools: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/07/17/family-foundations-major-modification-to-move-buildings-to-reach-academy-plans-to-increase-enrollment/

8/22/15: FFA’s major modification approved by State Board of Education: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/family-foundations-major-modification-approved-by-state-board-of-education-potential-conflict-ahead/

9/6/15: Wondering when the State Audit investigation will be completed: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/09/06/family-foundations-academy-where-is-the-investigative-audit-are-they-still-on-probation/

9/9/15: FFA off probation status: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2015/09/19/family-foundations-academy-off-probation-status/

Family Foundations Investigation Released By State Auditor, The Damage: $141,000 Verified, $1.2 Million “Unverifiable”

Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office released the Family Foundation Academy full inspection report a year after it was revealed their office was investigating them.  The biggest finding: Ex Head of School leaders Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, as well as other employees of the school, racked up $141,000 in personal purchases with over $1.2 million unverifiable whether it was business or pleasure.  The report talks about the settlement agreement Moore and Brewington and the Board of Directors for a little over $85,000.  There is a mountain of abuse and violations in this report!  Even some that occurred well after East Side Charter essentially took over the school at the end of last year.  This is really, really bad.

AOA’s inspection revealed the administration at Family Foundations Academy  (the Academy) seemingly operated in its own universe during the period July 1, 2011 through January 31, 2015.

Updated, 3:45pm: with the press release from State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office:

FFA

Family Foundations Academy: Where Is The Investigative Audit? Are They Still On Probation?

Family Foundations Academy, a Delaware charter school in New Castle, DE, formally requested an end to their six-month probation.  But their investigative audit may come out at the same time.  Last December, Delawareans were treated to a month long ordeal surrounding Family Foundations Academy.  During the school’s charter renewal, allegations came out against the co-leaders of the school for financial mismanagement.  It was also revealed the State Auditor’s office was going to investigate the school’s finances. By the end of the month, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington were out, and the board was radically changed in the first month of the year as members of EastSide Charter School took over.

The State Board renewed their charter but put FFA on formal review.  In March, the State Board put the school on probation for six months.  This will end later this month if the State Board agrees to it.  But in the meantime, while on probation, the school submitted and was approved for a major modification concerning the location of their elementary and middle schools.  And the Auditor’s report hasn’t even come out yet.  When can we expect this?  Given the timing for Academy of Dover’s similar situation, I would say sometime in the next month to month and a half.  It took the State Auditor’s office about ten months to complete their investigation on Academy of Dover, and that report came out on 6/24/15.  The State Auditor opened their investigation into FFA sometime in December, 2014, so we should expect the report this month or next month given the same trajectory.

Has FFA satisfied the terms of their probation?  That will be up to the State Board of Education to decide, but the school seems to think so if you read the below letter.  A frequent commenter on this blog raises a very serious question though about overall board membership at Delaware charter schools: Should board members reside in Delaware?  This is mandatory for traditional school boards since they go through the election process.  I would think it would be in our best interests to have the same for charter schools.

Del. State News Article: Academy of Dover’s Noel Rodriguez Going To Attorney General’s Office

“The Auditor’s office was concerned by the length of time the alleged financial mismanagement continued while under the oversight of the Board of Directors, Department of Education, independent auditors, Innovative Schools, the Charter School Accountability Committee, and Division of Accounting.”

According to an article by Craig Anderson with the Delaware State News, the State Auditor’s office in Delaware sent their audit report on Academy of Dover to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn’s office.  What the article had, which I haven’t seen before, is this:

Also, the Auditor’s office alleged, “Given the magnitude of the problem at (Academy of Dover), there may well have been additional exceptions prior to July 2011.”

Once again, this article states the State Auditor’s office receive an anonymous tip on their fraud hotline regarding ex-principal Noel Rodriguez’ rampant and unauthorized spending.  Rodriguez is trying to find a seat on a non-profit board, according to Anderson.  A few sources have told me Rodriguez was working at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Middletown, DE until he was let go once the news came out about the allegations leveled against him in the Auditor’s report.

Many have wondered why Rodriguez is being made an example of while they dynamic duo from Family Foundations Academy, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, got a get out of jail free card.  According to a letter to the DOE, Moore and Brewington settled with the school and hints the attorney general’s office was involved in this financial settlement after they pilfered over $90,000 from that charter school.  But one thing to consider is the State Auditor has not officially released a report on Family Foundations Academy yet.  They started an investigation into Academy of Dover in August, 2014, and their report came out last month.  So if it takes roughly ten months, we might see a report on Family Foundations Academy by September.  The $90,000 figure was based on a forensic audit done by Auphsite Consulting, but I have a suspicion the State Auditor will discover a much higher amount of fraud by Moore and Brewington.

As for Rodriguez, it will be interesting to see what his next move will be.  Will he attempt to offer a plea bargain?  If there were others involved in criminal financial mischief at the school, I could see Rodriguez pointing the finger.  The next few months should be interesting for all seven of the charter schools under some type of investigation or review with the State Auditor’s office.  I am very curious what kind of financial issues are under investigation with Providence Creek Academy…

Family Foundations Academy Saved By State Board As They Get Ravitched

The Delaware State Board of Education renewed the charter of Family Foundations Academy at their board meeting on March 19th.  The school is under a probation clause for six months, and they must give paperwork to the Charter School Office at the Delaware Department of Education each month for half a year.  EastSide Charter essentially took over the school after Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington were terminated for stealing over $90,000 from one of the school’s accounts earlier this year.

Meanwhile, the famous education blogger Diane Ravitch picked up on the original story about Moore and Brewington yesterday.  Delaware doesn’t come up often on her blog, but she covers education on a national level.  Her blog gets 25,000 to 100,000 readers on a daily basis, so a lot of people read about FFA yesterday!  She did refer to Moore and Brewington as co-founders, but Moore came on the scene later.  To read the full Ravitchization of Family Foundations, please go here: http://dianeravitch.net/2015/03/21/delaware-charter-founders-fired-for-alleged-misuse-of-public-money/comment-page-1/#comment-2301018

Eastside and Family Foundations Overlords Getting Rather Snippy With DOE, Overreaching A Bit…

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.

 

Say What? Sean Moore and Dr. Brewington Want Their Jobs Back at Family Foundations Academy

In the initial formal review report for Family Foundations Academy, there was a brief notation on the former heads of school, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington.  Despite allegations of fraud and embezzlement, as well as a report sent to the Attorney General’s office, they have appealed to get their jobs back.  Yes, you heard that right.  I’m sure it will happen, as sure as I am that Republicans will win every seat in the House and Senate in Delaware in the next election!

There are many very interesting tidbits to read in this report, but two notable absences not mentioned in the report are Monique Dolcy from FFA and Charter School Accountability Committee member Chuck Taylor.

 

Next Stop For Ex Family Foundations Heads Brewington & Moore: Attorney General’s Office

Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, the fired ex heads of school at Family Foundations Academy, a charter school in Delaware, will soon be facing potential criminal charges through the State Attorney General office.  According to an Update Report filed with the Delaware Department of Education on January 30th from the new Board of Directors at Family Foundations Academy, Brewington and Moore’s past actions have been sent to Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn’s office.

“All information concerning past possible criminal violations by FFA personnel has been referred to the Delaware Attorney General’s Office.”

In addition, five prior business contracts with Family Foundations Academy have been terminated, and three were modified.  All purchase cards have been taken away from employees with the exception of Dr. Lamont Browne and East Side Charter and Family Foundations Academy Director of Finance and Operations.  But these purchase cards may return at some point:

“although we are seeking to have that capability restored because it is very burdensome to conduct business without having the use of that facility, and we have full confidence in the appropriate use of the Pcard under Dr. Browne’s leadership and supervision.”

Family Foundations Academy was placed on Formal Review by Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the Delaware State Board of Education at their January meeting.  The formal review will be for 60 days after the January State Board of Education meeting, and a decision on the review will be rendered at the March State Board of Education meeting.  To read the full Update Report, please read the below file.

 

UPDATED! Family Foundations Academy Fate Decided: Handed Over To Eastside Charter, Placed On Formal Review

Today at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting, it was decided the school would be handed over to Eastside Charter School.  The 6-1 vote by the Delaware State Board of Education renews the embattled school’s charter but does place them on formal review.

The room was packed with new board members and supporters of the school.  While the State Board did discuss many of the financial problems with the school, they did agree to give this new board a chance.  Board member Whittaker did not vote for the charter’s renewal.

The Formal Review is based on the charter’s Organizational and Financial parts of their framework.  State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office has not released their official audit at this point which could conceivably shed more light on the financial mismanagement at the Wilmington charter school while under the leadership of ex-heads of school Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington.

Updated: A lot more information behind the collaboration between the Delaware Charter Schools Network, Family Foundations Academy and Eastside Charter School can be seen here by the awesome WHYY/Newsworks education reporter Avi Wolfman-Arent: http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/77394-delaware-spares-troubled-charter-school?linktype=hp_topstory

I’m guessing the State Board of Education gave the charter a sixty day formal review for a couple reasons. 1) To see what may come out of Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office, and 2) To see if the Eastside crew can actually manage to do double the work for two schools.  None of the standardized test cheating I have written about, which has been reported to me by more than one source, was even touched upon by the State Board of Education.  Nor was the special education issues brought up by the prior board.  I guess since Markell’s Charter Love Child, Eastside Charter, swooped in and saved the day all is forgiven.  Don’t get me wrong, I would hate to see any child sent to a new school if they don’t have to.  But the charter system in Delaware has so much rot and corruption at so many of it’s schools, or just plain incompetence.  In FFA’s board minutes for 12/31/14, one of the board members actually asked about getting a Staples card to help with the technology to pay all the outstanding invoices.  It’s called a clue buddy…  I’m sure this Eastside board is much more experienced with these types of things, but I remain unconvinced that some of the administration will be able to carry the weight should Eastside ever exit this partnership.

Big Changes At Family Foundations Academy: Moore & Brewington Terminated With Cause, Board Members Resign

At the Family Foundations Academy Board meeting last night, Sean Moore and Dr. Tennell Brewington, previously suspended with leave, were terminated by the board.  This ends their long tenure with the school amidst allegations of financial impropriety and mismanagement.

Two other board members, Byron Brooks and Gregory Smith resigned.  Out of the original board, only Monnica May and Rayne Fletcher remain.  There were five new additions to the board: Jocelyn Stewart, Faculty member Jason Casper, and three Eastside Charter Board members are coming over to the FFA board- Charlie McDowell, Thomas Humphrey and Charles Tolliver.  Sadly, I was not given any consideration in my bid for a board seat.  I think I’ll be okay.

With the new board, there is much more diversity.  Previously, the board had been all mostly all male African-Americans, but now there are four Caucasian and three African-American members with two of them being female and five male.  Dr. Lamont Browne from Eastside Charter will be supervising the situation at Family Foundations for the foreseeable future.

The big question will be if these changes are enough for the Delaware Department of Education, who will decide on the embattled school’s charter renewal this Thursday, January 15th, at the State Board of Education meeting.  Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy and the State Board will determine if the school will remain open after the end of this school year.

Uh-oh! Looks like we got a bleeder here! What has Family Foundations Academy done now?

Yes, I know.  Not another Family Foundations article.  When’s he going to do the long-awaited Rodel follow-up?  As my friend Wilson Jomama once said about another recent charter scandal, it’s like staring at the sun.

Please enjoy the theme music while we look at yet another big oops at this Wilmington charter school.  As mentioned initially on Kilroy’s first FFA Explosion article by a parent, their December 2nd Board meeting had a rather public situation involving a special needs student.  Please read the minutes from this meeting.  While this school has clear transparency issues, this outing of a student was about as transparent as Saran Wrap!

So what did they do wrong?  They looked like pretty concise board minutes to me.  But there’s just that tiny, little baby of a hiccup called student privacy.  I was shocked when I saw a parent commenting on this on Kilroy’s, but to actually see it in their board minutes was shocking!

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Yes, they fully revealed a student discipline problem of a student on a 504 plan.  While they didn’t reveal the name of the student, which they proudly boasted in their meeting minutes, unless they have multiple students who bite, kick and hit teachers, this student is easily identifiable.  Not only is this a violation of FERPA, but also Section 504 which is protected by the Office of Civil Rights.  Why the hell would they discuss a discipline issue with a particular student in a public forum like that?  And one with special needs?

It looks like this may have been a cover.  Not that the student wasn’t experiencing those issues (Lord only knows what fresh hell that poor kid was going through at this school), but it was also an impetus for a spotlight to be shown on Dr. Tennell Brewington.  In the minutes there is a whole part about her not using the Child Study Team and the Climate Team to help this student.  Here’s a novel idea, maybe they should have used an IEP Team!!!!  Sorry, no matter what this student may have done as a manifestation of their disability, this public roasting of this student has many violations.  If I were the parent of this student, I would not only be contacting the FERPA department at the US DOE, but also the OCR Office as well.

By the end of the meeting, after executive session, it was announced Dr. Brew was going on a 90 day paid leave of absence.  No explanation was given, but that’s none of our damn business when you read the harsh notes at the end when a member of the public DARED to ask about it.  I wonder what could have caused such a rift between Brewmoore?  Could it…no…maybe…possibly have been a… sorry folks, this isn’t Soap Opera Digest!

Staring at the sun indeed!  If that other recent charter school scandal caused some sun glare, this one is a Super Nova!

If you are sad the holidays are over, do not lament, because Family Foundations Academy is like the gift that keeps on giving…and giving…and giving…and giving!