Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Updated with italicized info below at 5:10 p.m. Jan. 2, 2012: 

A statement from the seven former Patrick Henry board members, cited "documents that uncover a questionable relationship between a recent PHSSA board member, Reggie Malone, and the Superintendent of Richmond Public Schools, Yvonne Brandon." Those former board members include Marjorie Bertolino, Bonnie Brown, Ph.D., Deborah Butterworth, Richard Day, Jessica Hoffa, M. Susan Martin and Krista Simmerman.

Former members of the nonprofit Patrick Henry charter school board have released the contents of an extensive Freedom of Information Act request to Richmond Public Schools that includes e-mails through which the board's former vice president, Reginald Malone, allegedly was passing draft legal documents and communications among board members directly to Richmond Superintendent Yvonne Brandon. (See links at end of this post.)

In these RPS-provided communications between Malone and Brandon, Malone often strikes an informal tone: "Hey Dr. Brandon, check this out," he writes a number of times, as in a Sept. 13, 2010 e-mail that includes the forwarded e-mail communications of then-board member Bonnie L. Brown, a VCU professor, and current board member Deborah Corliss. Brown and Corliss are discussing how to report a grant awarded to the school board. In October 2010, while the charter school's foundation board was negotiating a contract to make up the difference between RPS's agreed-to principal salary and the amout the PHS board agreed to pay Principal Pamela Boyd, Malone forwarded a copy of a proposed contract to both Boyd and Brandon. In other e-mails, Malone seeks meetings with Brandon, offering her times when she might meet him at the Patrick Henry Elementary School parking lot (between 8 and 8:15 a.m.) or referring to the convenience of a convenient store meeting.

Reached at his home on Monday afternoon, Malone said, "I don't have any comment on what they're doing, period."

Calls to Richmond Public Schools spokeswoman Felicia Cosby's cell and office
phones were not returned by 4:30 p.m. today. Richmond government offices,
including schools, were closed today. A call to School Board Chairwoman
Kimberly Bridges also went unreturned.

A spokeswoman for the current Patrick Henry board said the charter board
only became aware of the FOIA information over the winter holiday.
"We got a letter from some of the former members of our board on Dec. 29 letting us know about the FOIA information," said Kristen Larson, who
also is the charter's vice president. "This information has not been
shared with our full board yet, therefore at this time we can't

One of those involved in the release of the e-mails is Susan Martin, the
charter board's former treasurer, who has a pending defamation lawsuit against Malone. Seven
other former board members also are involved in obtaining the documents. Martin, reached by phone Monday afternoon, indicated that the group planned to make a public statement later today.
The Richmond School Board recently amended its meeting agenda for tomorrow night, adding discussion of the Patrick Henry school.

The links below are to PDFS of documents that the group of former board members received: 

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