Philly charter school closes nightclub

A Philadephia charter school has closed the nightclub that’s been operating in the school cafeteria on nights and weekends.

Harambee Institute of Science and Technology, a K-8 charter for 450 students, bought a building in 2003 that had been an Italian-American social club; the liquor license, which expired in 2008, came with the building.

School district officials knew about Harambee’s liquor license.  “A January 2003 memo from district counsel to top administrators suggested holding a hearing on the matter,” reported the Philadelphia Inquirer. That never happened.

An all-black school serving low-income students, Harambee’s test scores are way above the Philadelphia average; in some grades and subjects, the school equals the state average. It’s not clear that students were harmed by eating lunch in a cafeteria that served liquor hours after the kids had left the building.

On the other hand, the extra revenue may have been needed to overpay the school’s business manager, who is under investigation; her husband’s construction company also has won millions of dollars in business from Harambee and two other charter schools.

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