AUSTIN, Texas – A formal complaint filed with Texas education officials alleges that a charter-school network is abusing a visa program to import large numbers of Turkish teachers and violating state and federal laws by paying them more than American teachers.
The complaint also asserts that Harmony Public Schools is tied to Fethullah Gulen (feh-TOO'-lah goo-LEHN'), a reclusive Turkish Muslim cleric living in Pennsylvania.
In a statement Tuesday, Harmony blasted the allegations as "nothing more than a politically-motivated rehash of old claims and complaints that have been heard and investigated previously and found to be without merit."
Lawyer Robert Amsterdam filed the complaint. He's been hired by the Turkish government to investigate publicly funded U.S. charter schools started by Gulen's followers. Gulen is a political foe of Turkish President Recep Erdogan (REH'-jehp UR'-doh-wahn).
A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency says officials will decide whether an investigation is warranted.