EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! Flanner House School’s Board Chair Speaks Out! Says City NEVER Told Of Potential Closing; Other Concerns

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WP_20140822_17_08_04_ProUPDATED WITH REACTION FOR MAYOR CHARTER SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO OUR EXCLUSIVE FIRST PERSON INTERVIEW – In an emotional interview about the school’s she been a board member of since its beginning, Pat Roe, President of the Flanner House Elementary Charter School spoke out for the first time on the controversy and events that led to the schools sudden closing.  Appearing in an exclusive, extended first person interview on Afternoons with Amos, Roe, who’s been intimately involved with the school since its beginning twelve years ago, patiently explained the circumstances and events that led to the school the allegations of cheating and the school’s closure. (Below City Officials Sent Afternoons with Amos a written statement responding to Pat Roe’s Interview. The written statement and Media File of Amos Brown reading the statement are shown below)  Asked about the impact of the closing and those emotional meetings with the school’s parents last week, Roe said it was the first time in her life she had been through something so emotional since the passing of her husband.  In the interview Roe made several points that hasn’t been publicly reported by other media.  Roe said that at no time did the City’s Office of Education Innovation (OEI) informed her or the Board in writing of specific deficiencies in the school’s operation.  WP_20140821_15_22_32_ProThis despite the fact that members of the Mayor’s Office of Charter Schools and OEI regularly attended the meetings of the school’s board.  Asked specifically if the City, in July, notified Roe or the Board in writing that the school was in jeopardy of closing, either for the allegations of cheating or allegations of other non performance issues, Roe emphatically said “No”. Roe also said she hadn’t been given such notification informally or orally as well.  During the interview, Host Amos Brown pulled up the City’s OEI review of Flanner House for 2011-2012 which was a positive evaluation.  Yet looking on line, Brown noticed that no review for 2012-2013 had been posted. Brown asked Pat Roe if she’s ever received a written evaluation from the City on Flanner House’s performance for the 2012-2013 school year. Her answer was “No”. On the alleged cheating that took place at the school this year (2014), Roe said the school was forthcoming reporting the problem to the state and removing a school employee suspected of the cheating activity.  Roe insisted that the first information she and the school received about specific cheating allegations was on August 18. Two weeks after school began. Roe insisted that the investigation by the City and State of possible cheating in 2013 came back “inconclusive”.

Pat Roe, Flanner House Charter Bd Chair, In Afternoons with Amos Studio. (Photo:WTHR/Channel 13)

In the interview, Pat Roe confirmed information other Indianapolis media has ignored, that Flanner House was a private elementary school BEFORE it became a charter in 2002.  Saying the elementary school was an offshoot of Flanner House’s well regarded Child Development Center preschool. Roe confirmed that Flanner House chose to change from a private school to a charter school. The first one in Indiana to do that.  Regarding the evidence presented by the City that said that ISTEP keys to a locked cabinet containing ISTEP tests had been lost for two weeks, Pat Roe said that account was “incorrect”. Roe said the Principal of the School, Lakita Warthaw’s car had been stolen which contained her office keys.

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Look inside room where Parents of Flanner House Charter met with Board Members to get Questions Answered About Closing and Cheating Scandal

The locks on her office were immediately changed and the information on the incident provided to the public by the City wasn’t correct. Regarding the specific evidence of cheating documented by the City and state, specifically erasures of answers sheets and adults writing in students’ essays, Pat Roe agreed that such evidence should be made public immediately.  Pat Roe said that there are folks in the community researching how the school could remain open. And Roe has deep concerns about the lack of due process throughout the whole situation. Pat Roe also confirmed reports that Flanner House students were questioned by officials from the City’s OEI without adults or parents present. Asked if there should be changes in state laws to deal with these situations, Roe agreed. Listeners were extremely supportive of the school and Roe’s side of the story.  Click the Media Player to Hear the Afternoons with Amos Exclusive Interview with Flanner House Charter’s Board Chair Pat Roe. Runs 47 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.

City of Indianapolis Response To Pat Roe Interview   Click Media Player to Hear Amos Brown Reading Verbatim City’s Response to Pat Roe Interview. Runs 9 Minutes ©2014 WTLC/Radio One.

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