PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The former head of the School Reform Commission pressured a non-profit to back-out of a deal to run Martin Luther King High, in favor of a politically-connected firm. That’s the conclusion of a just-released investigation by Mayor Nutter’s chief integrity officer.
The report says former School Reform Commission Chair Robert Archie, who just resigned on Monday, put the squeeze on, to make sure that a firm favored by State Representative Dwight Evans got the lucrative charter to run Martin Luther King High. A parents advisory council at King recommended the Mosaica company, and the School Reform Commission approved Mosaica last March.
But the report says after a closed door meeting among Archie, Evans and Mosaica, the company withdrew, clearing the way for Foundations, a non-profit with ties to Evans, to run King. Foundations, though, withdrew after the controversy surfaced and the district is now running King as a Promise Academy.
Conchevia Washington, the head of the King School Advisory Council, called Evans’ efforts to exert his influence “selfish,” “He may have thought that this was in the best intention of the school and for himself, but I don’t believe that those children were ever taken into consideration.”
Mayor Nutter’s spokesman Mark McDonald says the mayor, who appointed Archie, is disappointed in him, “It is not something that in city government we would condone.”
There’s been no comment from Evans, but Archie in a prepared statement said he was shocked and angered by the report. He called it pure fiction, and said it was actually former superintendnet Arlen Ackerman who wanted Mosaica to withdraw.
Reported by Mike DeNardo, KYW Newsradio 1060