Saturday, September 5, 2015

Nutter releases report on MLK Charter School controversy

This post has been updated:

Nutter releases report on MLK Charter School controversy

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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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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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