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Local News

State Board Of Education Picks Investigator To Probe Jumoke, FUSE

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Several people from Bridgeport held signs in the back of the room, as the state Board of Education considered hiring an attorney to investigate Hartford Charter School Jumoke Academy, and its parent organization. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

Several people from Bridgeport held signs in the back of the room, as the state Board of Education considered hiring an attorney to investigate Hartford Charter School Jumoke Academy, and its parent organization. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

(CBS Connecticut) - The state Board of Education today began an investigation into Hartford’s Jumoke Academy, and the charter school’s parent organization.

The board voted to hire attorney Frederick Dorsey as a special investigator.

State Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor says the probe will look into finances, properties owned by the organizations, and family relationships between board members and employees.

“We do anticipate there may be issues,” Pryor said. “We are not prejudging, we are not preordaining, but we anticipate there may be issues that require remedy, and we are going to pursue them.”

Michael Sharpe recently resigned, after having served over the years as CEO at Jumoke, and Family Urban Schools of Excellence.

There had been reports that the charter school leader sometimes falsely claimed  to have an advanced degree, and had pleaded guilty to conspiring to defrauding a transit agency in California.

State Board of Education Chairman Allan Taylor spoke to the concerns of students and parents.

“We are focusing on their kids first,” Taylor said. “We understand that they have got great hopes placed in all of these activites, and we are going to to our best to ensure that those hopes are not disappointed.”

Candidate for governor Jonathan Pelto also attended the meeting.  He says the Malloy administration is too close to the organization’s that run charter schools, in part because some Malloy education appointees, including Pryor, used to work for charter school organizations, or have leadership roles on their boards.

“This was a farce and a travesty,” Pelto said.  “It’s not just the fox dialing 911 when the chickens have disappeared, it’s the fox with the chicken feathers hanging out of its mouth dialing 911 when the chickens have disappeared.”

Pelto said the state board of education has approved some of FUSE’s recent plans to get involved in other schools.

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