Saturday, August 30, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Cyber charter's top brass sing similar tune

The CEO and board chairwoman of the Philly-based Frontier Virtual Charter High School released nearly identical statements today about the school's academic and finanical problems.

Cyber charter's top brass sing similar tune

In light of today's Daily News story about the Philadelphia-based Frontier Virtual Charter High School, the school's top leaders released nearly identical statements about ongoing academic and financial problems.

 The first is from Thomasina White, the chair of Frontier's Board of Trustees who retired from the School District of Philadelphia last year following a three decade career:

"We are committed to our mission of providing students with a high quality and relevant education which will prepare them to be productive citizens of the world.  Currently the school is facing the challenges of any new and growing organization, including but not limited to financial and operational concerns.  However, the Board takes seriously the concerns raised and is working closely with school administration, including CEO Dr. John Craig, to ensure effective and smooth operation of the school."

The second statement is from John Craig, the CEO and founder of Frontier:

"Frontier is committed to ensuring that students receive quality instruction in an engaging environment.  In addition, we are committed to making due on our financial obligations in a fiscally responsible manner.

"Frontier is currently managing the growing pains not atypical of a new charter school, including fiscal pressures and operational challenges, but I am working closely with my administration and the board of trustees to ensure effective and smooth operation of the school."

It's unclear how long it took Craig and White to craft the statements, which shed no additional light on Frontier, which is being investigated by the state Department of Education.

White did not respond to a request to the Daily News to further discuss the school's troubles. 

Last Friday, the school's teachers and principal were laid off, following months of receiving half pay -- or no pay at all.

Craig told the Daily News last week that the school's 85 students were performing well academically. The paper reviewed documents, however, that showed numerous students were either habitually truant or failing their courses.

Frontier is receiving $435,520 from the School District of Philadelphia to educate 54 students from the city.

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Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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