St. HOPE Public Schools

St. HOPE Public Schools (SHPS) has experienced financial troubles and its high school is plagued with a steadily dropping enrollment. SHPS operates three charter schools in Sacramento, California: Triumph Center for Early Childhood Education, Public School 7 (PS7), and Sacramento Charter High School (Sac High). SHPS also "partners" with St. HOPE Leadership Academy, a middle school in Harlem, New York.

The declining enrollment of Sacramento Charter High
  • 2003-04 = 1,640
  • 2004-05 = 1,682
  • 2005-06 = 1,318
  • 2006-07 = 1,147
  • 2007-08 = 1,020
  • 2008-09 = 1,011
  • 2009-10 = 960
  • 2010-11 = 901
  • 2011-12 = 837

A congressional report released Friday includes allegations that D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee mishandled a complaint that Kevin M. Johnson, her current fiance, engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with a student at a California charter school in 2007.

At least one staff member at the St. Hope Academy resigned in protest over the handling of the case, according to the report, released jointly by Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican.

The staff member, Jacqueline Wong-Hernandez, reported a student's charges to Ms. Rhee, according to the report. Ms. Wong-Hernandez later told an independent investigator that Ms. Rhee replied that "she was 'making this her number one priority, and she would take care of the situation,' " the report said.

Soon afterward, Ms. Wong-Hernandez said, she heard that the student had been contacted by a personal lawyer for Mr. Johnson, who was a founder of the school. He is now the mayor of Sacramento, Calif…

Erik Jones, a St. Hope teacher who alerted police to complaints about Mr. Johnson, said he resigned for reasons similar to Ms. Wong-Hernandez, according to the report.

"St. Hope sought to intimidate the student through an illegal interrogation and even had the audacity to ask me to change my story," Mr. Jones wrote in his resignation letter.

The findings involving Ms. Rhee were a small but surprising detail in a 62-page report on the firing of Inspector General Gerald Walpin of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which manages the youth service organization AmeriCorps.

Mr. Walpin had been looking into the reported misuse of $850,000 in federal grant money by Mr. Johnson, a friend and supporter of President Obama who was accused of spending AmeriCorps grant money by having members wash his car, run personal errands, and engage in partisan political activities.

Ms. Rhee, a controversial figure in the District who has pushed a package of school reforms and closed several schools to address falling enrollment, was a member of the St. Hope's board of directors at the time. Mr. Johnson, a former professional basketball player, was the school's executive director…

The academy and U.S. Attorney's Office in Sacramento later resolved charges of wrongdoing through a civil settlement that required half of the federal grant money to be repaid to the agency.

Mr. Walpin has said he was fired in retaliation for his work on the investigation and has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to get his job back.

Alan Solomont, former chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service, and Stephen Goldsmith, a Republican member of the corporation's board, backed Mr. Walpin's firing. The acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, Lawrence Brown, also criticized Mr. Walpin, saying he provided "selected information" and withheld other details about the Johnson case, according to records sent to Congress.

Mr. Grassley sought records in June after Mr. Walpin was fired, writing in a letter to the corporation, "I am very concerned about the appearance that the IG's communications with my office about this matter may have contributed to his removal."

A lawyer for the corporation, which is an independent federal agency, said that the "White House has directed us not to disclose" information related to "deliberative discussions between the corporation and the White House."

"Losing it.” Columnist Cosmo Garvin, Sacramento News & Review (CA), 11/27/2008
Chalk it up to the competitive nature of professional athletes. In everything Kevin Johnson does, he goes just a little bit further than the other guy.

For example, it’s not completely unheard of for an independent charter school in Sacramento to fall a little bit behind in their payments to the Sacramento City Unified School District. Charters schools pay the district rent on their school buildings and fees for administrative costs. Being $50,000 or $60,000 in arrears isn’t great, but it happens.

But Johnson’s St. Hope Public Schools are really, really in debt. In fact, the district revealed last week that that St. Hope had racked up nearly $1 million in back rent and other fees it owes to the district.

According to the district’s chief financial officer, Tom Barentson, St. Hope failed to make adjustments to its budget when attendance at Sacramento Charter High School fell to much lower levels than had been anticipated. In fact, the skewed budgets went on for two years before district officials caught on...

... School district officials knew about the scope of the problem back in September. But the information just became public last week. Barentson says the elected members of the school board were told about it in mid-October—in a closed-door meeting. The issue wasn’t revealed to the public, said Barentson, because of “potential litigation” involving St. Hope...

1. Video: “Leaders Seek Kevin Johnson Files.” KCRA TV (CA), 4/29/2008

Several women leaders from Sacramento are urging police to release investigation files related to allegations that mayoral candidate Kevin Johnson fondled a 17-year-old girl last year.

Johnson, speaking to supporters in Oak Park on Tuesday afternoon, said he wants to focus on big issues facing the city and dismissed the accusations as an example of the "ugly politics of distraction."

While police found no evidence of wrongdoing and no charges were filed, the women held a news conference Tuesday morning calling upon Police Chief Rick Braziel to let the public see the incident report.

Police said no report will be released because no crime appears to have been committed.
Johnson, a former NBA player who was key in transforming Sacramento High School into a charter campus, is one of six candidates challenging incumbent Mayor Heather Fargo, who is seeking her third term in office.

City Councilwoman Sandy Sheedy labeled the women as Fargo supporters, and in an earlier statement called the move a "desperate tactic" by Fargo to combat Johnson…

Johnson's St. HOPE, which oversees Sacramento High, is under federal investigation. St. HOPE executive director Rick Maya said last week that the nonprofit is "fully cooperating" with the government.

California Volunteers, a state agency, asked the federal government to investigate because the nonprofit, St. HOPE, has received $807,000 from the federal AmeriCorps program since 2004. The financial ties require the state agency, which administers AmeriCorps money coming to the state, to report such claims, said Marta Bortner, a spokeswoman for the volunteers office.

She said the investigation request went to the AmeriCorps inspector general last week.

The investigation was triggered by a report filed with Sacramento County Child Protective Services by a teacher at Sacramento High.

The teacher reported that a high school senior told him that Johnson touched her inappropriately and that he had kissed her on the cheek or forehead on several occasions. The student also said Johnson behaved inappropriately with other students and a participant in St. HOPE's Neighborhood Corps program.

Sacramento Police spokesman Sgt. Matt Young earlier said investigators spent eight days last year looking into the teenager's claim, but added that no evidence of wrongdoing by Johnson was found. The girl later recanted her story.


The Perimeter Primate said...

Update on the relationship of the two ed reformers, Kevin Johnson and Michelle Rhee: SACRAMENTO MAYOR JOHNSON DROPS FANCY WEDDING PLANS, August 25, 2010, The Sacramento (CA) Bee:

It wasn't the politics of the seating arrangement, the number of cake tiers nor the pre-wedding jitters.

"In the end, it was the public intrigue that prompted Mayor Kevin Johnson to e-mail his guest list Tuesday, postponing his Sept. 4 nuptials to fiancée Michelle Rhee and disinviting all but his closest family and friends in the process.

"Michelle and I have decided to change the date and location of our wedding," the mayor said in a statement to the media. "We greatly appreciate the well wishes from the community, and plan to have a private ceremony for our families in the near future."

The closest Sacramento has gotten to a celebrity wedding in recent memory was supposed to be an elegant affair, according to the silver bow-tied damask invitations mailed out about a month ago.

The ceremony would have taken place at St. John's Lutheran Church on L Street in midtown, followed by "dining and dancing" at the Arden Oaks estate of developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos, whose name was misspelled on the engraved invitations...

Read the rest of the story @

The Perimeter Primate said...

Obama's Favorite Scandal-plagued Mayor