CCCS Administrators Respond to Inquirer Article Regarding Payments to CSMI

Chester, PA – Chester Community Charter School (CCCS) administrators are writing to express their shock and disappointment that the Inquirer incorrectly reported the facts about the school in its October 5, 2016, article. The article mistakenly alleges that CCCS made payments to its manager without approval by its Board of Trustees, when in fact all payments from the school were explicitly approved by the Board. It is unfortunate that in its rush to print, the paper not only made basic factual mistakes but also grossly mischaracterized the findings of a 2013 report by the U.S. Department. The school expects more, and the Inquirer’s readers deserve better. It is troubling that the paper failed to consider the evidence CCCS provided that disproved this allegation. It is clear that the Inquirer wrote its article with reckless disregard for the facts.

To set the record straight: All payments by the charter school to CSMI Education Management were presented to the school’s Board of Trustees by its own Treasurer and approved by the Board at its regular monthly meetings. In fact, the Board of Trustees approves all payments by the school, to the manager and otherwise. A 2013 letter to the U.S. Department of Education clearly explains this.

Secondly, during the time in question, CSMI was responsible for payment of virtually all school expenses including but not limited to: all payroll for teachers, administrators, and staff; all maintenance and facilities costs; and all other major supports of the school. This was a responsibility assigned to CSMI by the school’s Board of Trustees in the management agreement between the parties. The article fails to recognize that the sum of payments to the manager (again, as approved by the Board of Trustees) included the annual salaries of hundreds of teachers and staff, and the development of hundreds of thousands of square feet of state-of-the-art school facilities.

In an environment where many school districts are failing to provide basic educational supports such as textbooks and computers, it is shameful that there is such an unrelenting campaign against the charter schools defying the odds. CCCS has seen hundreds of its eighth grade

graduates matriculate on to prestigious private high schools and guided them to opportunities virtually unknown in the Chester High School. CCCS provides a safe, warm and nurturing learning environment where students are given the reinforcements needed to engage in active learning.  That means CCCS makes sure their bellies are full of nutritious foods, they have the eyeglasses they need to be engaged students, and they receive any individual supports they need.

This fall, CCCS is opening its newest building, the Ethel Waters Center for the Arts. The building will be the epicenter of our visual arts and music programs. It is yet one more example of how responsible management allows Chester Community Charter School to offer its students more opportunities than they would have in other schools.

The incredible satisfaction administrators feel in seeing these children of Pennsylvania’s single most underserved school district so engaged in their learning is something that cannot be expressed in words. Chester Community Charter School is turning lives around and giving the community’s youth opportunities to succeed. That is the truth and that is newsworthy.