An accountant was paid $700,561 over four years by three city charter schools and claimed to have worked more than 365 days in each year, City Controller Alan Butkovitz disclosed yesterday.
In addition, the accountant, Rhonda Sharif, collected $101,587 in 2008 for "unspecified" credit-card expenses from one of the schools, and authorized paying thousands of dollars for conferences and staff retreats but could provide no documentation for the expenses, Butkovitz said.
"These findings raise very troubling questions and serious concerns about oversight and financial accountability," Butkovitz said.
Charters, he said, operate under fewer rules than traditional public schools, "but in the end, these are taxpayers' dollars."
Records show that Sharif was the business manager of the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School in West Philadelphia at the same time she held that position at the Khepera Charter School in West Mount Airy and served as the chief financial officer of the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School at 447 N. Broad St.
Butkovitz said his office began examining operations of these and 10 other city charter schools and the School District's oversight of them in 2009 after The Inquirer reported allegations of financial mismanagement and a widening federal criminal probe of area charter schools…
Khepera Charter School
City Controller questions payments to charter-school accountant (Philadelphia Inquirer, March 31, 2010)