School's owner accuses fired workers in DVHS saga

David T. Shulick owns the for- profit Delaware Valley High School. DAVID SWANSON / Staff
David T. Shulick owns the for- profit Delaware Valley High School. DAVID SWANSON / Staff
Posted: November 07, 2012

The owner of an alternative-education company has filed court documents saying he has a "veritable mountain" of evidence to support allegations that former staffers at the company's school in Reading incited students to commit violence and steal property.

Lawyer David T. Shulick, who owns the for-profit Delaware Valley High School, said in his recent filing that the Berks County District Attorney's Office was aware of the evidence and that "criminal prosecution is imminent."

John T. Adams, the Berks County district attorney, said Friday: "We are aware of the allegations that have been made, and we are investigating those allegations."

Andre Bean, the former director of Delaware Valley's campus in Reading and one of the former staffers whom Shulick has accused of stirring student unrest, denies the allegations.

"This is David Shulick being David Shulick," Bean said Friday. "At the end, when all the evidence surrounding David Shulick is produced, the truth will really be revealed."

Shulick has declined to comment on the suit.

The dispute over what happened at the disciplinary school Shulick's company operates for the Reading School District is the latest chapter in a saga that includes a federal investigation into the school's operations and its relationship with Chaka "Chip" Fattah Jr., former employees' suing for back pay, massive layoffs, and the loss of lucrative contracts with the Philadelphia School District.

Shulick lodged a complaint Sept. 20 in Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia against Bean and five other former employees, alleging they contacted Delaware Valley students in Reading and urged them "to damage or destroy" the company in retaliation for being fired in mid-September.

He blamed the former staffers for two violent incidents a few days later involving Reading students.

Shulick disclosed the Reading investigation into the former employees' actions in court documents he submitted Oct. 26 in response to a recent filing by Bean that called the incitement allegations "ridiculous," "wild," and "defamatory."

Bean has asked the court to reconsider an order granted Sept. 28 that bars the former employees from contacting Delaware Valley students and staff and prohibits them from setting foot on any of the company's campuses.

Bean, who lives outside Nashville, said he did not receive the notice of the hearing in time to attend it.

In his filing, Shulick opposed Bean's request for reconsideration and said Bean intentionally vacated an address in Philadelphia to avoid being served with court documents that included the date of the Sept. 28 hearing.

In a related matter, Shulick met recently with Michael A. Davis, the Philadelphia School District's general counsel, to discuss unresolved financial issues and the possibility of doing business with the district again, according to sources with knowledge of the meeting.

"We are not able to confirm or deny whether a meeting was held with DVHS," District spokesman Fernando Gallard said.

Lawyer Alan E. Casnoff, who has represented the school in its dealings with the district, declined comment Friday.

DVHS officials have said they believed the district might owe the company more than $800,000 from the past academic year, sources said.

In 2011-12, Delaware Valley High School had contracts with the Philadelphia district totaling $4.1 million to operate a disciplinary school on Kelly Drive and a program for at-risk students in Southwest Philadelphia.

In June, the School Reform Commission approved a $3.6 million, one-year contract extension for Delaware Valley for this academic year. But the contract was not signed, and Gallard said in August that the district had severed its ties with Delaware Valley.

Gallard said then that the district had decided not to enter into a new contract with DVHS "due to business reasons."

Delaware Valley had been running alternative-education programs for the district since 2003.

Besides Reading, the company operates a school in Warminster that serves students from districts in Montgomery and Bucks Counties.


Contact Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or martha.woodall@phillynews.com.

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