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.
In a letter dated to parents on June 2nd, 2017, Christina School District Assistant Superintendent Noreen LaSorsa sent a letter to parents advising that Kirk Middle School Principal Brian Curtis was placed on leave. The letter did not indicate if the leave is a paid leave or not. In conducting a search for more information, I found a post on Facebook to the Christina School District Facebook page where a parent asked the district if he was fired for embezzlement.
When you go to Christina’s Facebook page, all visitor posts are now gone. I tried to submit a post asking where they all went and received a message that it would be reviewed. But the post still shows up on Facebook’s search engine. I edited the picture just for basic privacy rights of the person who submitted the question although it is public information on Facebook. The response to the parent post by the administrator of their Facebook page was 10:55am on June 2nd. The timestamp of the PDF letter sent to parents was 11:53am on June 2nd.
Curtis worked at the Delaware Department of Education for four and a half years in the school turnaround unit (i.e. priority schools) before he was hired to become Principal at Kirk Middle School in 2015. He replaced outgoing Principal Dan Shelton who became the Superintendent of the Capital School District. Curtis never updated his LinkedIn page with his new position. I searched for any recent news or events with Brian Curtis in Delaware and found nothing. While I am sure the district will not release any information pertaining to a pending investigation, this could not come at a worse time in Delaware as the General Assembly is in the final stages of preparing their FY2018 budget which has a current deficit of nearly $400 million dollars. Many school districts and state agencies are feeling the pinch as budget cuts are expected throughout the state.
In recent years, Delaware school district and charter schools have gone through many audit investigations due to financial abuse of some sort at their schools. Charter schools Providence Creek Academy, Academy of Dover, Family Foundations Academy, Delaware Military Academy and the closed Pencader Business School as well as the Indian River School District and Sussex Technical School District have all had reports from that office since 2013.
While working on another article about a situation not related to this one at all, I stumbled across the Facebook post which led me to the announcement about Curtis being placed on leave. While a question posed by a parent does not give any clear picture of wrongdoing, the fact the school district deleted the ability for anyone to see it on their main district page along with all other visitor posts IS cause for concern.
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.
Delaware charters have become well known for being very bad at accommodating children with special needs. It’s not all of them, but the bulk of them have a very hard time giving children what is required by federal law. Recently, Kendall Massett, the executive director for the Delaware Charter School Network, wrote an article on a Delaware blog asking parents to tell why charters are so great. To get the word out about why parents should choice their children to charters. She also talked about how her organization wants to get more charters in Delaware’s other two counties, Kent and Sussex. No thank you, Kendall. We have more than enough. Until your “great” charters fully follow the law, I don’t want to hear about MORE charters in Delaware.
To be fair though, I decided to see if this is just a Delaware issue. It’s not. It’s all over the country. New York, Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and more. I went through different search sites, and found an overwhelming amount of links. All I put in was “charter schools not accommodating special needs”, and they appeared. I’m going to put several links up, and I encourage every special needs parent and non-special needs parent around the country to pass the word around about America’s charter schools!
Included in these articles are special education issues, as well as numerous other tactics and illegal activities America’s charter schools have accomplished in their 18 year existence. Well done charters!