Monday, September 23, 2013

Contents of Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School in Newark, NJ Auctioned Off

Contents of Newark, NJ Charter School

Tuesday, September 17th 11AM
Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School
15 James Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Charter Revoked.  Trustee Ordered Auction
Apple & HP Computers
DLP Projectors, Smartboards
Schoolastic Furniture & More

The tip came in this email from a teacher in NYC:
They now hold auctions to sell the contents of closing CHARTER SCHOOLS.  I saw the add in the NY TIMES paper edition Sunday and I looked up the address and it is explained in the link.  So this is where our tax money is going.... from a NYC teacher.
We passed the story on to one of the teachers we know in Newark for follow-up. And I won't even go into detail about school namesake Adelaide Sanford who was a principal in Bed-Stuy and then a NY State Regent. During the 1975 strike over the drastic budget cuts which led to the cut of 13,000 teachers and a shortened school day she was one of the only principals to break the strike and keep her school open, thus in essence choosing to support the cuts. Teachers from other schools in District 16 marched over and picketed her school.
On September 17th contents of Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School in Newark, NJ were auctioned off by A. J. Willner Auctions. Featured items included in the loot were computers, office furniture, teaching aids and musical instruments. How did a charter school end up in this pickle?

Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School was closed by the Christie administration in June 2013 due to its repeated failure to comply with state regulations and its poor academic performance. Opened in 2007 by Fredrica Bey, the school had been on probation for more than a year.

The US Attorney’s Office was concerned with a potential conflict of interest regarding the school’s agreement to lease space from Women in Support of the Million Man March (WISOMM), a non-profit organization founded by Bey.

The school had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past year to rent space from WISOMM, despite the lack of a lease between the charter school and the non-profit.

To further complicate matters, Fredrica’s daughter, Amina Bey served as Adelaide Sanford’s school board president. Both Fredrica and Amina serve on the executive board of WISOMM. Adelaide Sanford was the fourth lowest performing charter school in Newark and a plan submitted to the state last year to improve its academic performance was deemed unsuccessful.

Bey faces two federal lawsuits. The first contends that Bey took $345,325 in federal grant money for at-risk kids and instead used the money to pay WISOMM’s bills. The second lawsuit alleges that Bey favored employees who assisted her in misusing Adelaide Sanford’s funding and fired others who threatened to expose her actions.

In layman’s terms, Adelaide L. Sanford’s contents were auctioned off due to the alleged misconduct of Fredrica Bey in misappropriating federal and state funding to pay charter school rent for space owned by an organization she founded and expenses of that organization. Surprise! Surprise! The school had very low academic performance.
A selection of the goodies. Nothing like fine executive furniture or a plush conference room.

Here is the article in the Star-Ledger

Christie administration closing Newark charter school founded by city activist Fredrica Bey

Adelaide Sanford James Street.jpg
Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School located on James Street in Newark's Central Ward appears in this photo. Yesterday, state education officials announced plans to close the school next week at the end of the school year. (Jessica Calefati/The Star-Ledger)
Jessica Calefati/The Star-Ledger By Jessica Calefati/The Star-Ledger
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on June 18, 2013 at 6:30 AM, updated June 18, 2013 at 6:33 AM

The Christie administration said Monday it will shut down Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School in Newark next week because of its repeated failure to comply with state regulations.
In a letter to school officials obtained Monday by The Star-Ledger, assistant Education Commissioner Evo Popoff also cited the school’s poor academic record as a reason for closing the school.
State officials "lost confidence" in Adelaide Sanford’s school board because school officials repeatedly did not comply with Education Department officials’ requests for various documents and information over the past year, according to the letter.
"A charter school must demonstrate to the Department not only an ability to provide students with a quality education, but the capacity to effectively govern and manage the school’s finances," the letter states. "The Department has lost confidence in (Adelaide Sanford’s) ability to meet the basic requirements to serve its students’ best interests."
Opened in 2007 by longtime activist Fredrica Bey, the K-7 school had been on probation for more than a year before the Christie administration announced its plans Monday to revoke the school’s charter before it is up for review, a rare move that has only happened once before in the last five years.
adelaide-sanford-students.JPGStudents and parents of Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School stand near the school's entrance at the corner of Washington Street and James Street in Newark. State officials announced Monday that the school will close next week at the end of the academic year.  
Neither Bey nor officials from the school board responded to requests for comment on the state’s decision.
Parent Keisha Seagle said the state’s decision seems like the best thing to do considering the school’s problems, but she said the timing of the announcement hurts Adelaide Sanford students like her 6-year-old son, a kindergartner. It’s too late to enter other charter school lotteries, she said.
"I’m not sure where my son will go to school next year," Seagle said. "I don’t want him at a regular public school, so I may enroll him in a Catholic school where I know he’ll be safe and receive a quality education."
The worst part is that the closure could have been prevented had the school’s leaders had complied with the state Education Department’s requests, Seagle said.
"This is all about someone’s ego," Seagle said. "Fredrica Bey could have walked away and done what was necessary to fix the problem. Instead, now she ends up with no tenants and that huge mortgage to pay. She loses and the kids lose, too."
Much of the state’s concerns, according to the letter, centered on conflicts of interest among Adelaide Sanford’s leadership and the school’s agreement to lease space from Women in Support of the Million Man March (WISOMMM), a non-profit community group Bey founded in 1995.
Over the past year, state investigators determined the school spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to rent space from WISOMMM even though a valid lease between the two groups did not exist and some of the space the school paid for was not used for classroom instruction.
Bey brokered the lease agreement, the investigators found. When state officials asked Bey and her daughter Amina Bey to disclose their ties to WISOMMM and remedy any conflicts of interest, the Beys provided conflicting accounts, the letter states. They resigned from their positions at the school months later.
bey1.JPGIn this 2005 file photo, Fredrica Bey comforts a student at WISOMMM's preschool, which is known as the Holistic Childcare Center. Classes used to be held on 15 James Street. Now, they are held on 53 Lincoln Park. 
Amina Bey had served as Adelaide Sanford’s school board president. Both women continue to work for WISOMMM and serve on its executive board.
In an accompanying report released Monday and referenced in the state’s letter, state investigators said they also found Adelaide Sanford’s board violated its own charter when it allowed black studies professor Leonard Jeffries and Elizabeth Councilwoman Patricia Perkins-Auguste, two of Fredrica Bey’s longtime acquaintances, to join the school’s board earlier this year without proper board approval.
On top of the compliance issues, a plan the school submitted to the state last year to improve its academic performance has been "unsuccessful," the letter states.
Adelaide Sanford is the fourth lowest performing charter school in Newark and its students’ math and language arts test scores have only grown marginally in recent years, state education officials found. "By all measures used by the State of New Jersey to assess the academic quality of a charter school – absolute, comparative and growth measures – the data demonstrate that (Adelaide Sanford) comes up short in delivering on the fundamental objective of providing a high-quality education to its students," the letter states.
The state’s decision to close Adelaide Sanford comes six weeks after The Star-Ledger reported that millions of dollars in state and federal aid the school received have helped finance real estate holdings controlled by Bey. Parents quoted in that report described a chaotic school with too few textbooks, insufficient classroom space and rowdy, sometimes violent students.
Bey already faces two civil lawsuits filed in federal court.
A complaint filed last year by the U.S. Attorney’s Office contends Bey took $345,325 in federal grant money earmarked for programs to keep "at-risk" youths off the streets and instead used much of it to pay WISOMMM’s bills, then falsely reported how the money was spent.
sanford1.JPG Lisa Johnson, one of the many parents who voiced displeasure with Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School, located on James Street, counts off the many reason she is not happy with the way the school is run.  
De Lacy Davis, a former Adelaide Sanford administrator and a co-defendant in the fraud lawsuit, used some of the grant money to pay other bills, the Justice Department said. But last month, Davis, a retired East Orange police officer, filed a lawsuit of his own that pits him against Bey, his former longtime friend.
Davis’s suit against Bey and members of the school board alleges Bey favored employees who helped her raid Adelaide Sanford’s coffers and fired others who threatened to expose her illegal and unethical behavior. Neither Bey nor an attorney for the school had comment on Davis’ lawsuit.
Adelaide Sanford is the second charter school state officials have closed in the last five years whose charter to operate was not up for renewal. Typically, charter school performance is formally evaluated by the state every five years, and Adelaide Sanford’s last renewal came in 2011.
Last year, Department of Education Commissioner Chris Cerf shuttered Schomburg Charter School in Jersey City because of budget problems, declining enrollment and low academic performance. That school had been open more than a decade before the state moved to close it.
Since 2010, the Christie administration has placed 21 charter schools on probation and has closed 10 schools, including Adelaide Sanford and Schomburg. The other schools closed were scheduled to have their performance reviewed and did not measure up.

Related Coverage

Special report: Born in hope, Newark charter school now embroiled in controversy
State Department of Education investigators visit Adelaide L. Sanford Charter School
Newark community rally decries Star-Ledger investigation
Lawsuit: Newark charter school founder fired employees who threatened to expose illegal acts


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