Updated: CEP Exits Philly And Fort Myers, But Houston ISD Still Loves It

While Houston ISD -- after some close inspection -- decided to renew its multi-million dollar (albeit somewhat lowered) contract with Community Education Partners, school boards in Philadelphia and Fort Myers, Florida were not so enthralled with what the private firm which operates alternative schools for at-risk kids has been doing in their communities.

CEP has notified the state of Pennsylvania that it is leaving Philadelphia after the school district there decided the partnership was over. It will be closing four schools.

Meanwhile in Fort Myers, Florida, the boards of the North Nicholas and Coronado charter high schools also voted on August 9 to terminate their contract with CEP effective within 45 days.

CEP had fired a principal there alleging he'd allowed students to cheat on some tests.

The school board, in turn, said CEP, and its Accelerated Learning Systems, didn't have the right to fire the principal and opted out of further business with CEP.

No reason was immediately given for why Philadelphia decided to opt out, after bringing in CEP in 2000 to help with its students with discipline problems. A Hair Balls call to the Philadelphia school district got the promise of a response, but we're still waiting.

And adding to the CEP news: next week may see the start of the long-awaited trial of CEP vs. former HISD educator Robert Kimball in state district court in Houston . CEP accuses Kimball of hurting it financially because of comments he made and writings he did criticizing its schools in Houston for doing what he considered a poor job of educating students.

Update: Robert Kimball's trial was delayed once again today as State District Judge Reece Rondon granted a continuance to CEP, whose lawyers now want to depose several members of LULAC (Rosemary Covalt, Mary Almendarez, Edward Ybarra and Carmen Nuncio) as well as former HISD school board member Natasha Kamrani.

Kimball's attorney had argued that CEP's attorneys had had plenty of time in the last two years to depose anyone they needed, and that to add a list of names right before the latest trial date was in violation of the court's own charge that discovery should be completed by July 16, 2010. The judge, however, rejected that argument and ordered a further continuance.

The trial was re-set for January 31. The case was originally filed on May 29, 2008.

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