"The problems facing Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School go beyond allegations that it doubled as a nightclub on weekend nights.
City Controller Alan Butkovitz today announced that the woman serving as the West Philadelphia charter's business officer also was simultaneously listed as an employee at two other charter schools.
Rhonda Sharif, Butkovitz said, was paid a total of $183,108 in 2008 as an employee of all three schools and worked 463 days that year, according to records of the state school employees pension system.
The year before, Sharif collected $175,375 for working 624 days, the controller said.
Besides handling the finances at Harambee at 640 N. 66th St., Sharif was employed by the Mathematics, Civics and Sciences Charter School at 447 N. Broad St. and Khepera Charter at 144 W. Carpenter Lane in West Mt. Airy.
In addition, Butkovitz said his office found that the schools had reimbursed Sharif more than $500,000 for unspecified credit card expenses and undocumented travel costs. His staff also found that her husband's construction company had received $7.5 million in contracts from the three schools."
"This communication goes out to inform you of the most recent misrepresentation of charter schools in our community. The charter school movement has been under attack since it’s inception, and unfortunately those who continuously attempt to impede the progress have close proximity to media microphones. This creates a very one-sided and unbalanced view of what charter schools represent. This 'negative imaging' can be an extremely dangerous weapon because it creates a perception of what is going on, regardless of how accurate it is. Perceptions then becomes people’s reality and the media are extremely crafty at exploiting that fact.
This attack on Harambee Charter School is a biased depiction of the true success story that Harambee truly is.
...We cannot allow slanderous and inaccurate allegations to impede our success and define who we are.
The Harambee family is a resilient group we will meet adversity once again and come out on top.
WE WILL WIN!"
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