Charter school under fire after teachers claim no pay

NORTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A North Philadelphia charter school is under fire. Teachers are quitting, saying they aren't getting paid. But the school is still getting funding from the city.

Despite the uncertainty, there are hundreds of students signed up and ready to go back to class in less than a month.

The school district's solution at this point appears to be to cut off funding and revoke the school's license.

The Khepera Charter School is the only charter school among 80 citywide that currently faces revocation of its charter.

The landlord for the building at 9th and Sedgley, where the embattled school has been occupying for years, now wants to evict them as the charter continues to drown in hundreds of thousands of dollars in red ink, owing money all over town.

All classes - kindergarten through 8th grade - were shut down a week early in June without warning or ceremony. Teachers say they have resigned en masse and found new teaching posts elsewhere.

We're protecting her identity, but one former teacher spoke with us about the situation.

"No we're going on three paychecks that we have not been paid... They have told us nothing," she said.

We were unable to contact anyone on the Khepera board of trustees or in its administration for a comment.

Charter schools in Philadelphia are funded by taxpayer money, but the school district has relatively little control over the management of them.

But currently underway are public hearings to revoke Khjepera's license to operate on grounds of a miserable classroom performance and failure to make payments to employee retirement and pension funds.

In terms of charter school performance, Roger Kligerman from the Philadelphia School District said: "It is the lowest score of all report types."

"Most of the teachers have had to go to the welfare office to get unemployment, food stamps, we're no longer covered health insurance-wise. They were supposed to cover our health insurance until the end of August. We've had no health insurance since May 1st," said the former Khepera teacher.

School district officials say the charter school continues to enroll students for the coming semester, even though its future rides on an eventual up or down vote by the School Reform Commission.
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