The Los Angeles Education Board decided late Tuesday to not renew operating contracts of three charter schools linked to the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETO).
The board said the schools did not provide necessary financial documents it requested or that the documents were sent too late and voted six to one, with one abstention, to close Magnolia Science Academy 1, 2 and 3 for poor financial management.
Magnolia schools, an umbrella group for FETO’s charter schools in California, would be completely shut down if they can not address the financial issues by July 1, 2017, according to the decision.
The schools are part of approximately 140 of FETO’s across the U.S.
FETO’s ringleader and alleged mastermind behind a recent failed coup in Turkey, Fetullah Gulen, controls the schools and the $500 million annual income he receives for them from the U.S. government, U.S. media reports.
Charter schools usually have a five-year contract and need “to produce a sufficient performance record and body of data”, according to National Association of Charter School Authorizers — a membership group of educational agencies that oversees charter schools.
Attorney Robert Amsterdam, who has been contracted by the Turkish government to investigate FETO activities, tweeted Wednesday about the decision.
“Today, whistleblowers who contacted us say Magnolia admin at MSA3 [Magnolia Schools 3] telling parents that ‘they won’ and already have approval from State!,” he tweeted.
He added that the administrator blamed students for “failing them” at the board’s voting Tuesday.
Last week, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) informed the schools that it would recommend the board deny the renewal of the contract and not only for financial inconsistency reasons.
Sources within the LAUSD told The Los Angeles Times that “one major issue is Magnolia’s foreign workers”. A majority enter the U.S. to teach on H1-B work visas.
The visas can be extended for a maximum of six years but are supposed to be used only when there are no qualified U.S. citizens for jobs, according to U.S. law.
The newspaper said the charter school group applied for visas for 138 individuals and that 97 eventually worked for Magnolia while 37 are still employed by Gulen schools.
Magnolia’s governing board member, Umit Yapanel, told the newspaper in August he was a Gulen follower.
FETO’s schools nationwide are part of the largest charter schools network in the nation. Some of the schools are currently under FBI investigation for irregularity, unlawful profits, corruption, fraud and forgery.