scandals

Politicians Not Super Psyched About Speakeasy School

Politicians Not Super Psyched About Speakeasy School

Photo: istockphoto.com

Elected officials and the School District are none too pleased with the charter school that was home to an unlicensed bar/catering venue during non-school hours. State Senator Jeffrey Piccola, the co-chair of the the state Senate Education Committee told the Inquirer he thought the School District should close the school and called it "a disgrace." The paper reports School District Superintendent Arlene Ackerman told the charter school she found the bar "unacceptable" and demanded it cease (bar) operations. State Representative John Taylor, chairman of the House Liquor Control committee told Action News it sends kids the wrong message. What did the PLCB say?

More of the usual confounding stuff that can only be the result of an archaic liquor code. From the Inquirer:

Local and state authorities said a liquor license for a club at the 66th Street address was granted long before the charter school moved into the building.

Francesa Chapman, a spokeswoman for the Liquor Control Board, said the board awarded a license in 1936 to what was then the Overbrook Italian American Democratic Club. Ultimately, she said, the license was transferred in 2002 to Harambee Institute Inc., a nonprofit affiliated with the charter school.

"When the premises is already licensed, our board doesn't have standing to refuse a transfer," she said.

Kevin Covington, who was president of the charter school board in 2002, wrote a letter to the LCB supporting the license transfer.

"The school board recognizes the existence of the social club near its school and has no objection to its operation," Covington said in the letter. "The club is not and will not operate during school hours. The club will, however, operate during the evening hours on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, after the school week has concluded."

Chapman said the license permitting the sale of alcohol expired Oct. 31, 2008.

L&I also unearthed multiple violations, including no business privilege license and health licenses. On its website, the Harambee Charter School says it hasn't done anything wrong, calling the investigation an "attack on Harambee Charter School is a biased depiction of the true success story that Harambee truly is."

Phila. charter school doubles as after-school-hours club [Inquirer]
Officials weigh in on school/nightclub [6ABC]

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