Two Northeast charter schools cited for deals to ‘profiteer’

Two Northeast charter schools have been cited for profiteering by the City Controller’s office in a recent investigation.

Controller Alan Butkovitz‘s investigation of 13 city charter schools “found repeated examples of complex real estate arrangements in which charters leased or rented facilities from related nonprofit organizations,” according to the Inquirer.

The two Northeast charter schools cited in the investigation are the following:

Franklin Towne Charter High School (5301 Tacony St., Frankford/Wissinoming/Bridesburg): The controller’s report criticized school CEO Joseph Venditti’s $236,281 salary and a circular real estate arrangement in which a for-profit company in Venditti’s name leases the property to the school he runs. Though arguably in Bridesburg (as the Inquirer put it), being near the regional rail station of the same name, the decade-old school at 5301 Tacony St. is north of the Frankford Creek, which is often used as the southern boundary of the Northeast, and its building is the former Frankford Arsenal.

New Foundations Charter School (8001 Torresdale Ave., Holmesburg): The controller’s report notes state Rep. John Perzel’s wife Sheryl was a long-time board member and founder and speaks of a similar circular real estate deal — in this circumstance a related nonprofit leases its building for $750,000 and the nonprofit was responsible for a $500,000 advance and guaranteed a $7.1 million loan.

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