Thursday, May 21, 2015

Jersey Jazzman: Transparency & Accountability? Not For Charter Schools

Jersey Jazzman: Transparency & Accountability? Not For Charter Schools:

Transparency & Accountability? Not For Charter Schools




Regular readers will remember a series of posts I did about LEAP Academy University Charter School in Camden back in 2013. Here's a recap that both recounts the many problems LEAP has had over the years, and gives us an example of the special brand of hubris that characterizes LEAP's founder, Gloria Bonilla-Santiago.

This is a woman whose school, according to the NJEA, "routinely violated state collective bargaining law." LEAP was caught up in an athletic recruiting scandal so egregious the NJSIAA rewrote its rules after finding the school in violation. The school has a history of not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress; even the state acknowledged its elementary and middle school was characterized by "low performance." LEAP failed to file its taxes for three years running, and lost (then regained) its tax-exempt status.

Bonilla-Santiago got quite a bit of attention in 2013, when the Philadelphia Inquirer broke the story that her live-in boyfriend, Michele Pastorello, was also LEAP's "chef," pulling down $95K a year for making such gourmet cuisine as "grilled cheese, tomato soup, and strawberry applesauce." It turns out that keeping Patorello on the payroll while the school switched vendors actually cost LEAP -- and the taxpayers -- a quarter of a million dollars.

That's quite a bit of scandal for just one charter school. But there was one other incident that hasn't been resolved -- until now:

In January of 2013, the Courier-Post published a story about a disgruntled LEAP employee who claimed Bonilla-Santiago made him do work at her home while on the school's time:


An employee of LEAP Academy University Charter School claims in a lawsuit that he was ordered to make repeated repairs to the home of the school’s founder, Gloria Bonilla-Santiago.
Mark Paoli, who was facilities manager at the
- See more at: http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2015/05/transparency-accountability-not-for.html#sthash.CaYkeHlb.dpuf



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