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Stories tagged: Providers

SRC chair faces conflict-of-interest questions

By Bill Hangley Jr. on Apr 19, 2011 05:46 PM

Updated | 10:20 pm

Just over a month ago, the chairman of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission took part in a pivotal closed-door meeting to discuss the fate of a charter school deal potentially worth $60 million, only hours after publicly recusing himself from voting on the matter due to a conflict of interest.

SRC Chairman Robert L. Archie has confirmed his participation in a statement to NewsWorks and the Public School Notebook.  

The meeting was held on the evening of March 16 at School District of Philadelphia headquarters, and included Archie, State Rep. Dwight Evans, and John Q. Porter of Mosaica Education, an Atlanta-based, for-profit school operator.  

Earlier that day, Archie’s fellow commissioners had voted 3-0 to award Mosaica the right to negotiate the charter to run Martin Luther King High in Germantown. Archie didn’t vote, citing his law firm’s ties to another applicant for the charter. Porter described himself that afternoon as “ecstatic” about the vote.  

King SAC still wants Mosaica

By the Notebook on Apr 13, 2011 11:05 AM

by Bill Hangley Jr.

Members of the School Advisory Council at Martin Luther King High say that despite the last-minute intervention of an influential state legislator, the battle for control of their school is not over.

When the School Reform Commission meets this week, the King SAC will ask commissioners to stick by their original plan to hand King over to the charter operator Mosaica Education, despite that company’s surprise rejection last month of the SRC’s offer to run King. The SAC does not want to see the school run by Foundations Inc., the top choice of State Rep. Dwight Evans, and the only other candidate for the job.

Officials at Mosaica have told the King SAC that the company is willing to return to King if it can do so with full community support.

“We are still committed to [Mosaica] – and we know they are committed to us,” said Conchevia Washington, parent of a King sophomore and chair of the King SAC, a volunteer committee of parents, students and community members charged with overseeing King’s charter transformation. “We want that original [SRC] motion to stand, and come hell or high water, we’ll deal with it.”

Short of that, they’d like to see a year’s postponement of plans to make King a charter, keeping it under district control, with Foundations gone from its current, limited management role. Subsequent meetings with Foundations have not convinced the SAC members that the organization has a viable turnaround plan for King, Washington said.

Ackerman discusses King management

By the Notebook on Mar 24, 2011 06:06 PM

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

With controversy swirling around the role played by State Rep. Dwight Evans in the selection of a new charter operator for Martin Luther King High, Superintendent Arlene Ackerman says the school’s fate is now in the hands of the School Reform Commission.

“It will be up to the SRC,” said Ackerman in an interview Wednesday night. The board will have to decide when it meets next month whether to hand King over to the New Jersey-based nonprofit on whose behalf Evans intervened last week, Foundations Inc.

District spokesperson Jamilah Fraser said the vote is tentatively scheduled for April 27. She said that while procedural restrictions mean the SRC can’t vote to replace Foundations with another charter provider, it can choose not to vote at all, leaving King as a district-run school for at least another year.

Last week, acting on Ackerman’s recommendation, the SRC voted to grant Mosaica Education the right to run King as a charter next year. Based on the District’s standard per-pupil reimbursement to charter schools, the King contract would be worth an estimated $12 million annually. Evans, however, wanted to see the job go to his longtime partner in education projects, the nonprofit Foundations Inc., which has managed King on behalf of the district since 2003, and whose executives have given Evans thousands in campaign donations over the years.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

Clearing the record on Evans' comments

By the Notebook on Mar 23, 2011 03:19 PM

On Tuesday, Rep. Dwight Evans told the Philadelphia Daily News that the Notebook misquoted him in reporting that he had “taken credit” for convincing Mosaica to turn down an opportunity to run Martin Luther King High as a charter. He also denied ever confirming that he had continued to lobby on behalf of King’s current nonprofit manager, Foundations Inc., even after the School Reform Commission voted on March 16 to replace Foundations with Mosaica.

More on Foundations and King High

By the Notebook on Mar 21, 2011 01:00 PM

by Bill Hangley, Jr.

This piece was published by NewsWorks Friday, March 18.

When John Henderson of Foundations Inc. walks into Martin Luther King High today, he knows he’ll meet some angry people. His message: don’t blame us.

“[People] have to entertain the notion that Mosaica withdrew,” said Henderson, Foundations’ chief spokesperson. “That put us all in the situation that I don’t think any of us were prepared for.”

Foundations is the nonprofit organization that has managed King, a neighborhood high school of about 1,000 students, since 2003. Wednesday, it appeared to have lost that job for good after the School Reform Commission (SRC) voted to hand King over to a competing charter operator, Mosaica Education, as part of the District’s Renaissance school turnaround program.

The SRC’s decision followed weeks of work by King’s volunteer School Advisory Council (SAC), which endorsed Mosaica over Foundations by an 8-1 vote.

But not 24 hours after Mosaica officially won the job, District officials made a surprise announcement: Mosaica was giving up King, saying it wanted to focus its energy on another school it was awarded, Birney Elementary.

It soon emerged that the moving force behind the decision was Rep. Dwight Evans, who responded to Mosaica’s apparent victory by lobbying hard on behalf of Foundations, his longtime partner in Northwest education projects. With Evans as an ally, Foundations has grown deep roots in the Northwest, running after-school programs and providing services to charter schools. Its executives have raised thousands of dollars in campaign funds for Evans over the years. Foundations considers King its “flagship” school.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

SRC vote okays 5 of 6 SAC first choices

By Paul Socolar on Mar 16, 2011 02:57 PM

[Updated 9:30 pm] Mastery, Mosaica, and ASPIRA are the winners in this year's process of matching six low-performing Renaissance Schools with turnaround managers. All six schools are slated to become charters after a Wednesday vote by the School Reform Commission.

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman and District staff recommended the first choices of the School Advisory Council at five of the six schools slated for turnaround.

King SAC deliberating on management

By the Notebook on Mar 10, 2011 09:29 PM

By Bill Hangley, Jr.

This week, all six schools in the Philadelphia School District’s so-called “Renaissance Match” program must make tough decisions about their future. But the choice faced by Martin Luther King High is unique: The known, or the unknown?

The known in this case is Foundations Inc, a nonprofit based in New Jersey that’s helped manage programs at King since 2003. The unknown is Mosaica Education, an international for-profit company based in Atlanta that has run schools from the Midwest to the Middle East, but never in Philadelphia.

By the end of the week, King’s School Advisory Council (SAC) must vote to recommend one of the two to run King next year. The recommendation won’t be binding, but Superintendent Arlene Ackerman has promised to factor all SACs’ preferences into her own deliberations before she delivers her recommendations to the School Reform Commission on March 16.

This story continues on the NewsWorks website; it is a product of a reporting collaboration between the Notebook and WHYY.

SRC to vote on Renaissance charter matches March 16

By Benjamin Herold on Mar 9, 2011 05:03 PM

The School District is moving apace with its plans to match eight new Renaissance schools with outside managers, despite concerns about the clarity, transparency, and speed of the process.

Big promises, big questions in S. Philly

By Benjamin Herold on Feb 15, 2011 04:17 PM

As part of its highly touted Promise Neighborhood planning initiative, Universal Companies has big plans for Audenried High School and Edwin Vare Middle School.

They’re just not saying very much about those plans yet.

In defense of the new Audenried

By Guest blogger on Feb 15, 2011 10:54 AM

We have another guest blog today, this one from a group of teachers at Audenried High School, in response to planned changes at their school.

On January 25, the new Audenried High School was identified as a “Renaissance School” and slated to become a charter under outside control. Before the 11th graders take the new school's first-ever PSSAs, before the inaugural graduating class of 2012 accepts their diplomas, and before we send our students off to pursue colleges and careers, our present renaissance is being cut short.

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