Sunday, August 16, 2009
Federal authorities have been investigating five charter schools in the Philadelphia area. Although the federal government will not confirm the investigations, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the investigations are reviewing concerns over spending controls and management oversight. The federal investigation began after the Philadelphia Inquirer reported a district-level investigation of the Philadelphia Academy for alleged financial mismanagement, nepotism, and conflicts of interest at the school. The school's former CEO and the school's former board president have both pled guilty to charges of fraud and have admitted to taking substantial sums of money in kick-backs from contractors or directly from the school. One of the other schools currently under investigation, Germantown Settlement Charter School, faces allegations that some of the school's funds were used for other nonprofits managed by its sponsor, Germantown Settlement. The charter school has received some $31 million in taxpayer money over the past nine years.