The charter world is filled with surprises. With all the autonomy they get, there is little to no accountability.

In Delaware, blogger Kevin Ohlandt reports that the police removed the principal of the Thomas Edison Charter School, Salome Thomas-El, because he fought to get his teachers a measly pay raise. The board of the charter stood by and watched as the principal was taken out of his school.

The teachers had been promised a raise of $750, like public school teachers in the state, and the board agreed, then reneged. The principal wanted them to get the raise. He had to go.

The school had a surplus of funds from their FY2017 budget to the tune of $534,000.00. The teachers were requesting a 1.5% increase in salary which Thomas-EL asked for from the board. The request was denied. What happened from there I do not know… yet. But to publicly shame a charter leader who is beloved by his staff and the community around him is in very bad taste. Not to mention the appearance this gives to students. This is a school with a low-income/poverty population hovering around 96%. The last thing they need is to see their school leader kicked out of school over what amounts to him fighting for higher teacher pay at a school that is known for having the lowest paid teaching staff in New Castle County. But they can afford to have lavish Christmas parties and send seven people to a charter school conference?

The next day, 20 teachers called in sick to protest.

The Board of Directors at Thomas Edison Charter School are facing a head-on karma collision today. At least 20 teachers called out sick today forcing the school to close for the day in early dismissal. Dr. Salome Thomas-EL has been placed on indefinite leave by the board. Parents don’t know what is going on due to the lack of transparency coming from the board.

Yesterday afternoon, members of the board met with teachers after school. Note to self: find out if there was a quorum because there was no agenda posted for this meeting. Several teachers walked out of this meeting.

I did find out their “Foundation” account is due to the school owning the building. That account is meant for lease and renovation payments to which they receive payments from the state. Whether it is used for that purpose, I cannot say. But it is my hope someone in the state looks into that. My question would be why they need a separate bank account and why those bank statements aren’t available to the public since it is fueled by taxpayer funds.

At this point it is a no-brainer that the Delaware Dept. of Education has gotten involved. Far too much has happened since yesterday morning. I have not found out whether or not a charter school board has the authority to deny teachers a state approved increase in pay. My sense is that they do not have this authority. And is Thomas Edison the only charter denying these increases to their teachers?

Why would a charter school want to be known as having the lowest paid teachers in the state?