U.S. probe widens to 18 city charters

Bill Perkins

May 07, 2010

Philadelphia Inquirer,  May 3, 2010

U.S. probe widens to 18 city charters

By Martha Woodall

What began as a federal probe of a single charter school in Northeast Philadelphia two years ago has spread to at least 18 schools and may be the largest federal charter investigation in the country, experts say.

"I can't think of a similar situation" anywhere else, said Nelson Smith, president and chief executive officer of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in Washington.

"There has not been any other state or city that has had this kind of charge made against so many [charters] in a confined period of time," said Jeanne Allen, president of the Center for Education Reform, also in Washington.

In recent weeks, a flurry of federal subpoenas has been served on schools across the city seeking five years' worth of financial records to show how the charters have spent taxpayer money.