"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Lifting the Rock on Pennsylania Charter Schools

It took a lawsuit that went all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but the public still has a right to know about the sweet deals that charter schools are cutting all over the state. It remains, however, a sad state of affairs when the job of public oversight has to be done by reporters curious enough to go to court to get an answer to a question about these corporate welfare outfits pretending to do the work of schools.

When did the the right to steal from the public treasury become a virtue reserved for the practitioners of crony capitalism? If the charterizers such as Rotherham encountered such secrecy and foot-dragging among public school administrators, they would be calling for criminal investigations.
A Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision has, for the first time, established that charter schools must release information requested under the state's Right-to-Know law, according to a lawyer in the case.

The decision, handed down Tuesday said a Chester charter school must hand over its management contract and other financial documents to a Delaware County newspaper.

In 2005, Matthew Zager, a reporter for the Delaware County Daily Times, filed a Right-to-Know law request with Vahan Gureghian, head of the management company that operates the Chester Community Charter School. Zager asked for an auditor's report, financial statements, and the school's management agreement with the corporation that had managed the charter before 2002.

The request was denied by Danielle Gureghian, Vahan Gureghian's wife and a lawyer for his management company. She said the management firm was a private company and not subject to the Right-to-Know law.

Delaware County Common Pleas Court, Commonwealth Court, and the Supreme Court all rejected that argument. "Charter schools are not exempt from the statutes that are applicable to public schools," the Supreme Court said in its ruling. . . .

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