Hartford School System Terminates FUSE Partnership

The Hartford school system has terminated a partnership with the Family Urban Schools of Excellence following the resignation of FUSE CEO Michael Sharpe.

According to a press release from Hartford Public Schools, they entered a memorandum of understanding in 2012 with FUSE that gave the charter organization management control over the Milner Elementary School. It was a three-year contract.

The arrangement was intended to raise student achievement and approved by the State Department of Education Commissioner’s Network. The Commissioner’s Network provides funding for under-performing schools to undergo three to five year improvement plans.

The release stated that Hartford Public Schools had been discussing the gradual return of local control over Milner over the course of the 2014-2015 school year, the last year of the contract. Instead, officials say they are terminating contract and returning Milner to the public school system on July 1.

Hartford School Board Chairman Richard Wareing said over email that Hartford had planned to return Milner to local control for several months, long before Michael Sharpe’s resignation. They had been negotiating with FUSE to bring Milner back under local control in the contract's third year, with FUSE performing limited services.

“We have an excellent principal in Karen Lott, a dedicated and capable staff, and a great external partner in Catholic Charities. We are looking forward to next year,” he said.

Wareing said recent questions about Sharpe’s background prompted Hartford Public School officials to expedite the process.

There are concerns about Sharpe's educational background after it was discovered he never completed a doctorate. The FUSE website lists "Dr. Michael Sharp" as a graduate of Columbia University, Norwich University, and New York University.

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