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State Board of Education launches investigation, requires background checks for charters

Allan Taylor, chairman of the board of education, and Education Commissioner Stefan Pyror (Christine Stuart photo)
Allan Taylor, chairman of the board of education, and Education Commissioner Stefan Pyror (Christine Stuart photo)

HARTFORD, Conn. – The state Board of Education will investigate a charter school management company, but its future — and the future of children attending its schools — is still unknown.

The investigation was prompted after Michael Sharpe, the charter school management group’s CEO, resigned last week when his criminal past was revealed in news reports. Sharpe also admitted to a Hartford Courant reporter 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.

The state Board of Education voted Monday to hire a special investigator to look into the finances, governance, familial relationships, properties, and operations of the Family Urban School of Excellence (FUSE) — the charter school organization that oversaw Jumoke Academy and Hartford’s Milner Elementary School. The group also has a contract to manage Bridgeport’s Dunbar Elementary School and had planned to manage New Haven’s Booker T. Washington Academy, which is scheduled to open in the fall.

The Booker T. Washington Academy’s board of directors met Sunday and voted to sever ties with the embattled management group, leaving the state Board of Education with more questions than answers Monday.

See the complete story at CT News Junkie.

Comments

2 responses to “State Board of Education launches investigation, requires background checks for charters”

  1. EveT

    A linked article gives details of Sharpe’s criminal past: “1989 … Sharpe pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling more than $100,000 and conspiring to defraud California’s Bay Area Rapid Transit District… served 21/2 years of a five-year sentence, and later returned to prison in the early 1990s after a finding that he violated probation.”
    How this phony “doctor” got away with defrauding the CT state Board of Ed is a testament to inadequate background checks and vetting.
    How would you feel if your child had been attending one of the schools run by his company? Worse, all CT taxpayers have been supporting his enterprise with our tax dollars.

  2. Suzanne

    I recently applied to a volunteer position at a healthcare facility and a thorough background check was required. The State Board of Education pulled a rookie mistake not performing due diligence as is required of any (volunteer) contractor. This is not a reason to end Charter Schools, however, as stated by one of the gubernatorial candidates. Rather, it is an opportunity for the Board to get their s— together and give support to the successful institutions in spite of dubious management leadership.

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