Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Chicago charter schools tied to fraud of Concept Schools

Chicago charter schools tied to fraud of Concept Schools:

ONGOING FEDERAL INVESTIGATION ON CORRUPTION IN CHICAGO CHARTER SCHOOLS


 Days after federal agents swept into the headquarters of Concept Schools and a charter school it operates in Rogers Park in June 2014, top Chicago Public Schools officials took notice of the raids on the taxpayer-funded charter operator but decided to steer clear.

Jack Elsey — the CPS official in charge of overseeing publicly financed, privately run charter schools like those run by Concept — emailed the district’s top lawyer at the time, James Bebley, and copied then-schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett about the federal investigation.
“James, any guidance on how we should react?” Elsey wrote, attaching a link to news coverage of the raids at Concept’s main offices in Des Plaines and its Chicago Math and Science Academy, at 7212 N. Clark. “My inclination is to see how this plays out.”
“At this point, I don’t know what we would be reacting to,” Bebley replied. “There is really nothing to say except that we will monitor events as they play out.”
“Good, just wanted to confirm my ‘gut’ on this one,” Elsey wrote back.
Byrd-Bennett responded, “Jack, Jack … Jack,” and closed her email with a backwards smiley face emoticon — (: — as she often punctuated more light-hearted email exchanges with other CPS officials. Elsey replied with a correctly executed smiley face: “:)”.
Byrd-Bennett quit as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top schools official last year amid an unrelated bribery scandal, pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges and awaits sentencing.
More than two years since the FBI raids brought the still-ongoing federal investigation involving Concept to light, the charter operator has continued to do business with contractors identified in court documents as allegedly having been involved in defrauding a U.S. Department of Education grant program, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.
The charter-management organization — which runs four taxpayer-funded charter schools in Chicago and dozens more across the Midwest — has paid more than $519,000 since the raids to companies federal authorities said were involved in the corruption probe and their subsidiaries, according to documents the newspaper obtained from individual Concept schools.
There has been no correspondence between CPS and Concept Schools — which gets Chicago charter schools tied to fraud of Concept Schools:

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