Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Nutter releases report on MLK Charter School controversy

This post has been updated:

Nutter releases report on MLK Charter School controversy

This post has been updated:

Acting under pressure from a state lawmaker, recently departed School Reform Commission Chairman Robert Archie sought to guide a charter school contract for Martin Luther King High School to a politically connected non-profit against the wishes of parents, according to an investigation by the Nutter administration.

The administration today released a long-awaited report on the MLK controversy. You can read it here.

Nutter ordered the investigation by his Chief Integrity Officer Joan Markman in the spring after the controversy erupted. In April it was reported that Mosaica, the school operator favored by parents and the SRC, withdrew from contention for the charter school contract after a meeting with Archie and state Rep. Dwight Evans. A New Jersey nonprofit with ties to Evans and Archie called Foundations Inc., then got the contract, although it later pulled out after press reports of the backroom negotiations.

Publicly Archie – who stepped down from the SRC on Monday -- recused himself from the debate, based on an association with Foundations. But according to the report, Archie "facilitated Evans' promotion of Foundations at "MLK," in response to political pressure from Evans. It says both Evans and Archie compromised the school district's ability to "secure parent involvement in their children's schools, to make decisions according to a fair process and to garner public confidence in those decisions.”

Evans did not participate in an interview with Markman and neither did his top aide, Kim Turner.

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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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