State Says Jesse Jackson Academy Owes $3.2 Million

Jennifer Radcliffe, Houston Chronicle, December 5, 2008

A handful of teachers and families turned out at the Jesse Jackson Academy this morning to clean out their classrooms and get their transcripts to take to a new school.

The Houston charter school, which is run by the husband of Democratic state Rep. Alma Allen, was ordered closed Thursday by the Texas Education Agency.

The campus, at 5400 Griggs, must remain closed until it resolves several bookkeeping issues, state officials said. The campus, along with its sister school in Fort Worth that was closed last month, owes the federal government $3.2 million in misappropriated federal grants.

Teachers at the school hadn’t gotten paid for about two months.

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Officials with the school, including Principal Lawrence Allen Sr., did not return calls seeking comment. Lawrence Allen’s son is Lawrence Allen Jr., a Houston Independent School District administrator and the city’s representative on the State Board of Education, which approves charter schools.

Commissioner Robert Scott write in a letter Thursday that the school may be able to reopen if it resolves all the outstanding issues. If not, the charter will be revoked, he warned.

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