Released late Friday afternoon (January 2, 2015) to ensure minimal media coverage, the report issued by the investigator appointed by Governor Malloy’s Commissioner of Education and his political appointees on the State Board of Education leaves some of the most important issues completely unaddressed.
While the Malloy administration’s investigation notes, among other issues, that there were;
(1) No FUSE Board of Directors meetings until June 2014,
(2) That All FUSE employees were “processed through Jumoke payroll, under Jumoke’s payroll tax number, and received Jumoke paychecks,”
(3) There was “extreme intermingling of funds” between Jumoke and FUSE.
And that the fault for all the issues lies with the man formerly known as “Dr.” Michael Sharpe.
Read the report – Jumoke/FUSE Charter and Turnaround Operation – and you won’t find any mention of FUSE’s Chief Operating Officer, Andrea Comer.
The same Andrea Comer who was appointed to the State Board of Education by Governor Malloy in the Spring of 2013, despite the obvious conflict of interest between working as an officer for a charter school management company with state contracts and serving on the board that sets state policies concerning charter schools.
In fact, while the report states that interviews were conducted with present and former FUSE employees, it isn’t even clear whether Andrea Comer was even interviewed.
But Andrea Comer is a key witness to the crimes, violations and misdeeds conducted by Jumoke/FUSE.
For example, in her capacity as Jumoke/FUSE’s COO, Andrea Cromer (along with Hartford’s Superintendent of Schools, Christina Kishimoto, Commissioner Stefan Pryor, and Kishimoto and Pryor’s top aides) sat through every important meeting related to handing Hartford’s Milner School over to Jumoke/FUSE.
While the new report blasts how Sharpe handled the oversight of Jumoke at Milner, and even highlights the fact that significant funds remain missing, the report fails to even mention the deal-making that led to Jumoke/FUSE getting a no-bid contract to control a Hartford public school.
Nor does the report explain the role Comer, Kishimoto, Pryor or their top aides played in the scam.
And it wasn’t like any of these issues should have come as a surprise …The State Department of Education’s investigator could have started with the following blogs;
On April 10, 2013, the Wait, What? post began as follows:
“BY A VOICE VOTE SO THAT NO ONE WOULD NEED TO BE ON RECORD, the Connecticut House of Representatives confirmed Governor Malloy’s nomination of Andrea Comer to serve a four-year term on the State Board of Education.
Comer, who works as the Chief Operations Officer for the FUSE/Jumoke Academy charter school management company, and previously worked for Commissioner Stefan Pryor’s Achievement First, Inc, one of the nation’s largest charter school management companies, will be filling the State Board of Education seat that was most recently held by an official from the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education.
As a member of the State Board of Education, Comer will be in a unique position to directly and indirectly help her employer and the charter school industry continue their ongoing privatization efforts.
FUSE/Jumoke Inc. already collects millions of dollars in state funds distributed by the State Department of Education and has major expansion plans. Just last year, Commissioner Pryor and the State Board of Education directed that Hartford’s Milner elementary school be handed over to Jumoke to manage.
The decision to give one of Hartford’s public schools to the Jumoke Academy was not only lucrative for the Jumoke Academy but was even more noteworthy because the Milner elementary school has been one in which half the students come from households that didn’t speak English and fully one in four students weren’t fluent in English. The Jumoke Academy, by comparison, has never had a single bi-lingual student during its many years of existence and has consistently failed to provide educational services to its fair share of special education students.”
The issues were clearly laid out in the following articles as well;
The Malloy/Pryor Jumoke Charter School Gravy Train (March 10, 2014)
One Adam-12, One Adam-12, we have a COI in progress (March 19 2013)