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

Wali Rushdan: How He Could Impact Delaware Education & His Ties To A Charter School Fiasco

A new name came forth recently in Delaware education.  I must admit I had never heard of him before.  Or had I?  But who is he and how could he become a voice in Delaware education? Continue reading

More Truly Bizarre Family Foundations Academy Stories Surface

More stories from Family Foundations Academy are coming to light, and strange doesn’t even begin to describe them.  All sources who have provided these stories have elected to remain anonymous for their own reasons.

One educator advised they did donate part of their paycheck during the school’s “troubled financial crisis” back in 2008, but never received their two promised personal days off.  In fact, the school discouraged employees from taking their state allotted 10 days off.  When teachers were out, their classes of 30 or more were cut in half and put in other classes, which would give classroom sizes of 45 or higher!

A certain office assistant from many years ago sure liked money.  The school had a company they contracted for school pictures.  Apparently, this company would grant those pictures for free to employees of the school.  This office assistant would tell the company certain parents were employees when they weren’t, charged the parents, and kept the money for their own benefit.  This same employee was also in charge of collecting lunch money, but I imagine the amount of food going out was a lot higher than the money coming in.  When called out on this by an admin, another admin came to her defense because this employee also served as a “liason” arranger for this admin in setting up “rendezvous” meetings with the other admin.

At one point, the school arranged for a trip to The White House.  As a brother in the infamous fraternity the school is associated with, the school used the frat brother’s bus company for the trip.  The bus broke down, and had to return to the school.  The bus company agreed to reschedule the trip for free, but an admin charged parents again for the field trip, and kept the money.

The school received funding from Race To The Top, and spent some of this money on a company called Tutoring Works.  Would you like to take a wild guess what fraternity is part of the owner of that company’s profile?  Would you believe only fraternity brothers and one admin were allowed to perform these Saturday tutoring sessions?

Some of the charges by the school have been confirmed.  At one point, the school charged parents and students for a trip to a 76ers game, with a promise of the bus ride, the game, and a dinner.  Unfortunately, hungry parents and children only received a hot dog in tin foil, no drink, and not everyone got a hot dog…  One admin sure loved Arizona Iced Tea, and would purchase many cases of it from a certain wholesale club.  As well as other lots of treats and goodies.

Apparently “motels” was a popular word in texts between parents and certain employees at the school.  So much so that jealousy soon caused considerable rifts.

When FFA was administering the DSTP tests, one teacher would block all the windows with paper and would place candy on the correct answers while the students were taking the test.  This teacher would NOT open the locked door until all the tests were done and in their bag.

Apparently many teachers who were fired or quit due to tyrannical control by admin, many teachers went to the Christina School District.  One admin actually left FFA for the day to see all the teachers at the different schools.  Apparently these were insane moments…

I’m sure there will be more stories that come out, but in the meantime I have not heard back from anyone at Family Foundations Academy about my formal request for a seat on their board.

In the meantime, parents, teachers and concerned citizens, please make formal public comment with the DOE.  Please include your name, and any witnesses to these events.  There are certain laws against retaliation, and the more of you that speak up, the stronger the statements.  I have no clue what will happen with this school in terms of any DOE decision on their charter renewal, but all the allegations and stories about them clearly show this is a school that was run by people who did not have the best interest of students in mind.  If they are to stay open, any admin, staff, or board member associated with any of these allegations needs to be terminated.  As well, any connection with any vendor affiliated with “the frat” needs to be eliminated as a vendor and all future vendors should be on a contract through the state contract system.

 

 

Family Foundations Academy: “potentially serious allegations of financial mismanagement”

As the drums of war continue to beat against Family Foundations Academy, news surfaced at the Delaware State Board of Education meeting yesterday that a 200 page audit of the embattled school was received by the Delaware Department of Education the day before.

Patrick Heffernan, a member of the board, stated he was “very disappointed this report came in at the 11th hour”, a day before the board had to decide on their charter renewal.

While it wasn’t implicitly said, there was a general feeling there were serious questions about the audit the school had done last winter, with Auphsite Consulting Group.  I had my own questions about that report as it blindly accepted what the school said were education expenses.  Furthermore, the individuals who compiled the audit were questionable.  I searched the three members on the report, Darnell Sulaiman, Nakisha Hadi, and Terri Muhammad.  I did find information on Sulaiman and Muhammad, but Nakisha Hadi, the financial analyst and certified forensic accountant does not appear to even exist.  Anywhere.  The only places that show them as a legitimate business appear on the company’s own website at 1500 Walnut St., Ste. 700 and a Manta business listing that shows them at a separate address, which is a row-house in Philadelphia, not the Walnut Street address on the report and their website.

Another company in Philadelphia, on Market Street, is Charter School Renewal, a company run by Alan Wohlstetter, a former attorney for Fox Rothschild.  Wohlstetter appears to be the current attorney for Family Foundations Academy based on the Delaware Charter School Office documents on their own website.  Fox Rothschild had many payments sent to them in 2014 from Family Foundations Academy, totaling well over $320,000.00.  Wohlstetter recently joined the firm of Zarwin, Baum, DeVito, Kaplan, Schaer, Toddy, P.C.  In their news release for Wohlstetter’s placement in the firm, they wrote the following:

Prior to joining the firm, Alan Wohlstetter was involved in financing more than thirty charter schools, serving as a Bond Counsel or Underwriter’s Counsel for schools in Pennsylvania, California, Texas, and Colorado. Most recently, he closed a $30 million bond financing for a Philadelphia charter school and currently serves as General Counsel to three charter schools. What’s more, Alan also serves as President of Charter School Renewal, a consulting firm which helps charter schools navigate change. 

Last June, Wohlstetter wrote a document for Fox Rothschild called Common Ground In Education: Closing Pennsylvania’s Low-Performing Charter Schools.

Another attorney from Fox Rothschild, Wali Rushdan, appeared to be helping Family Foundations Academy at their September 30th board meeting by taking minutes of the meeting.  Rushdan is also a member of the very same Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity that all the members of the Family Foundations Board and Head of School Sean Moore belong to.  While this could all appear to be coincidence, it should definitely be looked into by investigators.  There are just way too many connections here folks, and there needs to be answers and explanations to all of this in a public forum.

As well, Moore served as treasurer of the Delaware Charter School Network governing board.  This advocacy group for Delaware charter schools is essentially a lobbyist firm for charters.  According to their 2012 Form 990, the organization spent $24,000.00 in lobbying costs.  If Sean Moore was treasurer for this group, and he is behind a great deal of the financial malfeasance at Family Foundations Academy, I would have to wonder if he misspent funds there as well.

I reached out to State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office this morning but no one was able to talk at this point in time and I am awaiting a return call.  As well, I called Auphsite Consulting Group which does answer as Darnell Sulaiman but I was unable to connect with anyone there as well.

To be continued I’m sure…