Charter schools

It’s been one scandal after another here in Philadelphia. It’s just another bastion of play-for-pay politics:

ALTHOUGH John Porter may not have found a horse’s head in his bed, it was clear that former School Reform Commission Chairman Robert Archie and state Rep. Dwight Evans wanted his charter-school company to disappear, according to a long-awaited report released yesterday.

Joan Markman, the city’s chief integrity officer, found that Archie’s public recusals were “meaningless” and that he worked behind the scenes with Evans to keep Martin Luther King High School under the control of Foundations Inc.

Markman’s report, which includes information gathered from interviews with more than 30 people, details how Evans refused to engage with a parent-led School Advisory Council and”mounted a sustained back-channel effort” for Foundations.

The saga began in March when Evans began to lobby officials, including Archie, a longtime friend, and former Superintendent Arlene Ackerman.

He wanted Foundations to keep the school, despite almost a decade of poor academic results, instead of giving it to Mosaica, a Georgia-based company that was the first choice of parents and the SRC to run the school as a charter this year. Foundations has made thousands in campaign contributions to Evans.

Minutes after the SRC approved Mosaica’s taking over the school on March 16, Archie directed then-Deputy Superintendent Leroy Nunery II to call Mosaica’s John Porter into a meeting.

Evans reportedly told Porter that he refused to work with the company and that Mosaica would get in the way of his plans for education in the area.

“Immediately after that meeting, Nunery described it to [then-Superintendent Arlene] Ackerman . . . as like something out of the movie ‘The Godfather,’ ” the report said, noting that Porter was “in shock.”

Nunery told investigators that “Archie told Porter . . . that this is Philadelphia, and suggested that things are different here.”

Mosaica pulled out of the plan the next day. Foundations pulled out in April after details of the secret meeting were first reported by the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and NewsWorks.

More than a month later, Mayor Nutter called for the investigation.

Let me point out that this is all taking place under the School Reform Commission, put in place by state Republicans. What do you suppose are the odds that the Republicans 1) don’t know about the kickbacks and 2) aren’t cut in on the deals?

Remember, kids: Privatizing and outsourcing is always about the kickbacks and contributions.