Morning Headlines: Did This Philly School Pay a Contractor Who Never Worked There?

School employees say they did all the work.

Photo via Google Street View

Photo via Google Street View

According to the Daily News’ Regina Medina, charter school operator ASPIRA Inc. hired Lyon Contracting to paint Olney Charter High School back in 2001. School workers claim no one from Lyon ever came, which is why they were recently surprised when they found out ASPIRA had paid the contractor $163,365.

Here’s what some school employees said upon hearing this:

Almost “everything in that place got done by us. Every single thing,” said one Olney staffer. “I never see anyone rolling no brush but us. It was always me and the crew.”

Added another employee who worked at Olney in 2011: “I have never seen a paint company here.”

Among the areas painted were the school cafeteria, gym, hallways, and staircases.

However, Medina reports that ASPIRA controller Orlando Rendon Jr. has a different story:

“That’s inaccurate,” he said when told of the claims. “I saw [Lyon Contracting] painting.”

Rendon even offered workers’ W-9 forms as proof that the work had been completed.

But the W-9 documentation never came. And Rendon did not respond to subsequent phone calls or emails about the painting contracts.

The School District of Philadelphia helps fund ASPIRA, which oversees five schools in the area, with monthly deposits. From the Daily News:

The funding for each school is deposited into its bank account every month based on student attendance. ASPIRA manages the accounts for each school, provides services such as information technology and security and pays itself a management fee from each school’s account for its services. ASPIRA listed revenue minus expenses of $358,465 on its 2013 tax return.

Last year, the School District gave ASPIRA $44.3 million.

Questions over charter school payments to contractor [Daily News]

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