The below picture portrays exactly what is wrong with education funding in Delaware. There is no consistency or oversight with where existing funds are going. As a result, we have a boiling cauldron of fraud, waste, and abuse. It seems like anyone can get paid in education and it can be catalogued however a school wants.
In this picture, we see the former Head of School from Family Foundations Academy and East Side Academy doing what appears to be consulting work for three Delaware charter schools. Given that the amounts are very similar, I can assume it was the same type of work. All three schools put the payments under different categories: Educational Benefits-Chld, Consultants, and Other Professional Service. All three schools used different funds for what I assume to be similar work: Special, General, and Federal. All three schools belong to the same Wilmington Charter School Collaborative, which is an alternate teacher evaluation system. This initiative came about through Lamont Browne.
Lamont Browne left Delaware last summer and moved to Colorado to work his “magic” in another corporate education reform state. So how is it he is able to do all this work in Colorado and still get paid by the State of Delaware through various charter schools? Does he have a finders fee for this teacher evaluation system?
Governor Carney wants to talk about all these education funding decisions but has completely ignored the elephant in the room: we don’t know where existing funding is going to, especially in our charter schools. School districts pull the same kind of shenanigans (wait until you see the next major audit investigation report coming out of Tom Wagner’s office!) but they can be harder to find.
I did go ahead and submit this as a tip to Delaware State Auditor Tom Wagner’s office as I wrote this article. In the vein of full transparency, I am including screen shots of my tip:
When I write about this kind of stuff, all too often charter school supporters start defending the schools and say I am picking on charter schools. While this most likely isn’t a Sean Moore kind of deal, it is symptomatic of what is wrong with our education funding oversight in Delaware. I’m not looking for the causes as much as I truly want a solution to these kind of problems. I would love to stop writing about these matters. So Governor Carney, I am throwing you the gauntlet one more time: are you ready to talk about this or do I need to keep writing?
Aaaron Bass, the new Executive Director of EastSide Charter School and Family Foundations Academy has some very lofty goals for students. Mirroring the very controversial No Child Left Behind law enacted in 2002, Bass wants all students to be 100% proficient on the Smarter Balanced Assessment. The difference is Bass’ plans to determine how a child advances in grade levels. And what method of teaching does Bass prefer? Continue reading EastSide Charter & Family Foundations Academy Have No Child Left Behind Goals But Plan To Leave More Students Behind
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.
The News Journal is sponsoring an education forum at the Chase Center on the Waterfront in Wilmington on March 9th. Led by David Ledford, the Executive Editor of The News Journal, the purpose of the forum is to engage in an open discussion about how best to serve Wilmington schools. Originally the date was on February 24th which drew controversy since that was the date for the referendum on the Christina and Red Clay Consolidated School Districts.
Panelists include the following:
Mike Matthews: Warner Elementary School Teacher and President of the Red Clay Educators Association
Tony Allen: Chair of the Wilmington Education Committee and a Bank of America executive
Mark Holodick: Superintendent of the Brandywine School District
Senator David Sokola: Chair of the Delaware Senate Education Committee
Lamont Browne: Head of School for East Side Charter and Family Foundations Academy
Tizzy Lockman: University of Delaware Public Policy Graduate Student and Mother
The forum kicks off at 6:30pm, but there will be an Education Expo at the location from 4:00-6:00pm where district and charter representatives will be on hand to talk to citizens about their schools.
Governor Jack Markell will give opening remarks at the Education Forum.
If you plan on going, it is free, but you would need to register here: http://newsjournal.upickem.net/engine/YourSubmission.aspx?contestid=164189