Anyone who is shocked that Innovative Arts Academy shouldn’t be. All one needs to do is take a look at the history of charter schools and the grizzled underbelly of this industry which is fueled strictly by profits and run by questionable characters. From the first day it was evident that this school was set up to make a quick buck for its investors and to fail within 24 months of its first day of classes. Controversies last summer aside, its clear Innovative Arts was staffed by less than capable teachers, administrators, and staff. The resumes and work experiences of past and current employees were nothing to write home about. Funding was an issue from the start and the sequence of events that led to IAA having to take a loan from its landlord is suspicious at best.
Now we come to a point where former employees are spilling the beans about the inner workings of Innovative Arts. Issues exist with student safety, curriculum, proper following of state guidelines, and enrollment have all been brought to the attention of the public and Catasauqua’s Board of Education. Innovative Arts had an opportunity for its administrators to attend a special meeting this past week and explain its side of the story, but declined, ostensibly on the advice of their legal council.
The Catty school board responded by sending a list of questions to the administrators, and formally requesting a response and appearance at a special meeting scheduled for late July. You see, the board members are, to a member, disgusted and amazed by the incompetence and greed that Innovative Arts has shown. They want answers, though none of them are really expecting the charter school’s board to show up. The majority of the board members are all of the opinion that Innovative Arts will not reopen in September anyhow. With that in mind, Catty’s primary concern could shift to financial issues in the coming weeks if the rumors about the school closing are true. Catasauqua does not want to be left on the hook for any money. If and when Innovative Arts collapses, every cent that Catty has put into the school in any form will be lost forever.
I had the opportunity to speak with some of the board members and they’re not hopeful, or optimistic. Off the record, they blame Kelly Bauer and Honest Abe for this entire mess and have contacted the state to recommend an investigation be launched very soon.
A sad situation which could’ve been avoided altogether if enough local people had opened their eyes and realized this was a scam from the beginning.