Also In Schools: The NAACP, PUPE, And PHSC Are Filing An Ethics Complaint Around The School District’s “Restructuring” Plan

Look, you don’t mess with Helen Gym. We’ve said it before, and we’re sure we’ll say it again. Apparently, the School District of Philadelphia and the William Penn Foundation didn’t get that memo, and the Gym-affiliated Parents United for Public Education, along with the Philadelphia chapter of the NAACP and the Philadelphia Home and School Council will file a complaint at 1:30PM today with the City Ethics Board. The complaint will claim that “the William Penn Foundation and private donors hired a consulting firm to lobby the School District of Philadelphia around a controversial plan to restructure public education in Philadelphia. The lobbying focused on charter expansion and identifying 60 schools for closure among other areas.”

It all started earlier this fall, when “parents requested a legal analysis from the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia about the activities of BCG (Boston Consulting Group, who were at the forefront of the plan) and the foundation which funded those activities.” The PILCOP found that BCG should have been registerred as a lobbyist, and the William Penn Foundation and their private donors should have registered as principals. Further, “The complaint states that the William Penn Foundation solicited more than $1 million from private donors to hire the Boston Consulting Group in the spring and summer of 2012. The Foundation signed at least two contracts with the Boston Consulting Group without the School District being a party to the contract. During that time, BCG worked aggressively as a lobbyist for the William Penn Foundation and its private donors around charter school expansion and identifying dozens of schools for closure among other issues.”

So, good news below and bad news above. As Gym said, “a handful of wealthy donors have bought themselves access to the School District. We think the public needs to know what happened here.” And that’s what is going to happen when they hold a press conference later today, but we’ve learned that School District business isn’t School District business unless it’s shady.