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

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Why Did KIPP Hire a Principal It Knew Was a Convicted Felon?

from the San Antonio Express:
After a decade of working for KIPP Aspire Academy, the principal of the charter school has been put on administrative leave while the Texas Education Agency reviews his employability, complicated by two convictions of federal financial crimes in 1994.

Roy Feliciano, now 54, was an employee of the FBI in Puerto Rico before he was indicted in 1994 on charges of making false claims to the government and “knowingly participating as an employee of the FBI in a particular matter in which, to his knowledge, his spouse had a financial interest,” court records show.

In a plea agreement, Feliciano admitted to those charges while other charges of conspiracy, forgery and several more counts of false statements were dropped.

According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, the charge of making false statements is a felony, while the charge pertaining to FBI employees is a misdemeanor.

Feliciano was sentenced to six months of house arrest, five years of probation and a $200 fine.

His wife, Evelyne Derose-Feliciano, also took a plea deal in which she admitted to aiding and abetting and making false statements. She was ordered to pay $13,800 in restitution to the FBI.

Records detailing the facts of the case are archived in Missouri and were not immediately accessible. Feliciano could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

In a prepared statement Tuesday, KIPP San Antonio refused to name Feliciano but identified him as a school leader. His school, the Aspire Academy, enrolls fifth- through eighth-graders in the 700 block of Fredericksburg Road. The school enrolled 430 students in the 2013-2014 school year, according to TEA records.

KIPP San Antonio said Feliciano was hired in 2005 and that, during the interview process, he voluntarily disclosed his conviction “for making false statements in a government investigation.” KIPP hired Feliciano after conducting background and reference checks, the statement said.

“We also consulted with an attorney who informed us that it was legal to employ the individual,” the statement said.

KIPP, short for the Knowledge is Power Program, is a national network of free, open-enrollment charter schools that is “dedicated to preparing students in underserved communities,” according to its website.

According to the Texas education code, a person who has been convicted of a crime “involving moral turpitude” may not be employed in an open-enrollment charter school. The code does not define moral turpitude.

Another law, enacted two years after Feliciano was hired, requires TEA approval of open-enrollment charter teachers and administrators after a review of their national criminal history.

As required by law, Feliciano had been fingerprinted for the TEA’s database, but a spokeswoman could not say when the fingerprints were submitted, whether the agency had ever reviewed his criminal history or if KIPP had provided all the information to the agency that the law requires. . . .

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