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State Education Board Expected to Approve Investigation of Charter School Group

by Christine Stuart | Jun 30, 2014 4:30am
(4) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Education

The state Board of Education will meet at 10 a.m. today to discuss the appointment of a special investigator to examine the operations, finances, and governance of Family Urban Schools of Excellence (FUSE) and Jumoke Academy.

Michael Sharpe, the charter school group’s CEO, resigned last week after his criminal past was revealed in news reports. Sharpe also admitted to the Hartford Courant’s editorial board that he had never received a doctorate in education and also had not graduated from New York University, despite claiming those titles for years in published literature and in remarks to the state legislature.

If the special investigation is approved it will be led by attorney Frederick L. Dorsey of the Hartford law firm Kainen, Escalera & McHale, P.C. Previously, the Education Department retained Dorsey to investigate suspected irregularities in the 2010 Connecticut Mastery Test administration at Hopeville School in Waterbury.

“We are deeply concerned about recent revelations regarding FUSE and Jumoke Academy,” Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor said in a press release last week. “Like all operators of public schools, these organizations have an obligation to meet high standards of organizational governance.”

The investigation is expected to include interviews of members of the organizations’ staff and governing boards, as well as an analysis of relevant documents. Dorsey will work with the Education Department’s Office of Internal Audit to coordinate the financial audit of Jumoke Academy, which is being conducted by O’Connell, Pace & Company.

Since 1998, Jumoke Academy has been given about $53 million in state grants, according Education Department officials. Sharpe didn’t get involved with the charter school organization until 2003.

In addition to Jumoke Academy in Hartford, FUSE operates Bridgeport’s Dunbar Elementary School and had managed Hartford’s Milner Elementary School until Hartford school officials ended that relationship. FUSE also was hired to run a new, state-approved charter school in New Haven.

FUSE’s website was down Sunday.

In the meantime, two other members of the FUSE management team have resigned, including Andrea Comer, a state Board of Education member appointed by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who was the chief development officer for the charter school group.

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(4) Comments

posted by: GBear423 | June 30, 2014  7:44am

GBear423

Looks like the Charter House of Cards is coming apart.  the real shame is it is highly unlikely any State officials will be found guilty of wrong doing. Who was supposed to vet this charlatan?

$53 Million since 1998? well that seems reasonable.

posted by: justsayin | June 30, 2014  7:59am

So Pryor and the gang did no fact checking, gave these folks a bunch of cash. The guy said he lied, the senior people are resigning some appointed. Now we the tax payer have to pay to investigate them? Are we investigating the right people in this matter?

posted by: RogueReporterCT | June 30, 2014  10:02am

RogueReporterCT

Okay. Charter Schools bad. Common Core bad. These were all part of an ed reform package that included “college readiness” and re-jiggering the state college and university governance. Also bad. But I am still laid off. And students are still screwed. Thanks, Dan. Thanks, Elsa (Nunez). Thanks Beth (Bye).

posted by: PWS2003 | June 30, 2014  11:07am

Seems to me that this investigation should also include the State Board of Education and their interactions with this group and their approval process. Maybe their should be some background checks in the approval process,ya think?