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OKC charter school under investigation

by Tim Willert Modified: October 10, 2013 at 10:00 am •  Published: October 9, 2013

A charter school for high-risk students championed by former Oklahoma City Public Schools Superintendent Karl Springer is under investigation for possible academic and financial misconduct.

The district is reviewing the academic and business operations of Harper Academy, 1215 NE 34, school district spokeswoman Kathleen Kennedy told The Oklahoman. She declined to provide details.

On Wednesday, the school's interim principal said she was recently hired out of retirement to replace the school's principal, who was “released due to academic deficiencies.”

“My understanding is the board was not happy with her performance,” Sondra Ansivino said.

The state department of education lists Tamra Washington as principal of Harper Academy. Attempts to reach Washington were unsuccessful.

Neither Melvin Perry, Harper Academy's chief operating officer, nor Chandra Graham, identified in documents as president of the school's board of directors, returned calls for comment Wednesday.

Touted on Facebook as a “center for transformation and success,” Harper Academy is an alternative charter school that serves high-risk students, including dropouts, pregnant teens and those with behavioral problems.

“The kids are troubled. The kids strike me as young people who are really in need of dynamic leadership,” said Mark Flemon, who manages a nearby restaurant frequented by Harper Academy students.

About three weeks ago, Flemon noticed that many of the students were leaving school early and said some of them told him it was because “they didn't have enough instructors.”

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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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