Federal agents yesterday seized financial records from a North Philadelphia school, another move in a widening federal probe of area charter schools.
Michael Mustokoff, an attorney for the Community Academy of Philadelphia Charter School, confirmed that FBI agents retrieved the records yesterday morning.
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At least five Philadelphia-area charter schools are under investigation, their control of public funds and management oversight called into question. Federal authorities are adding resources to the probe.
People familiar with the matter say the list includes New Media Technology Charter School, with campuses in Germantown and Stenton; Germantown Settlement Charter School in Germantown; Northwood Academy in the Northeast; and Agora Cyber Charter School in Devon, which provides online instruction to 4,400 students statewide.
The probe began at Philadelphia Academy Charter School in the Northeast. It started after The Inquirer reported in April 2008 that the school district's inspector general was investigating allegations of financial mismanagement, nepotism, and conflicts of interest at the school.
Former Philadelphia Academy chief executive officer Kevin O'Shea and former board president Rosemary DiLacqua have pleaded guilty to fraud charges and await sentencing in October. The school's founder, Brien Gardiner, committed suicide in May amid reports that indictments were imminent.
The expanding federal investigation has forced the Philadelphia School Reform Commission and the state Department of Education to take a closer look at charters.
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Thursday, August 27, 2009
FBI Seizes Philly Charter Records While Federal Investigations Pick Up Steam
As the corporate welfare charter schools, free from any oversight, drain more and more money from the public schools, so does the charter corruption, fraud, and thievery. The latest from Philadelphia, where five charters are now under federal investigation. Via the Philadelphia Inquirer: