Last year, the Arizona Republic wrote an expose of the millions made by Glenn Way, founder of a charter chain in Arizona, primarily by real estate deals and construction of the schools by “related” companies. He previously ran charters in Utah.

Now Way plans to launch a charter chain in North Carolina, which welcomes for-profit charters.

Way’s chain in Arizona has a red-white-and-blue patriotic theme.

A charter school operator who made millions of dollars building, selling and leasing properties to the schools he runs moved a step closer Monday toward setting up shop in North Carolina.

The N.C. Charter Schools Advisory Board voted Monday to recommend giving a full interview to Wake Preparatory Academy, a proposed K-12 charter school that wants to open in 2020 in northern Wake County. Wake Prep would be managed by a company whose owner also owns the company that would build and lease back the facility to the charter school.

Wake Prep is proposing to contract with Arizona-based Charter One to manage the school. Charter One manages American Leadership Academy, a network of Arizona charter schools. Former Utah state legislator Glenn Way founded ALA and owns Charter One and Schoolhouse Development.

The Arizona Republic reported last year how Way had made as much as $37 million by setting up no-bid deals in which he built school campuses and then sold the properties at a profit to the ALA charter schools. The newspaper’s five-part investigation into charter schools earned it the prestigious George Polk Award for Education Reporting.

Under Wake Prep’s proposed agreement, the school would contract with Schoolhouse Development to build the facility and lease it back to the school. The lease would start with the school paying $2.2 million the first year, $2.6 million the second year and $3 million in each of the next three years.

Bruce Friend, a CSAB member, said the board needs to get questions answered before recommending that the State Board of Education approve the school. Aside from questions about the lease, concerns were also raised that Wake Prep plans to pay Charter One up to 15 percent of its revenues annually…

Some charter schools are managed by for-profit companies. Last month, the advisory board recommended that the state approve three new charter schools in Wake County that would have contracts with for-profit companies.

This is the second time that Wake Prep has tried to open in North Carolina. The school applied last year to be managed by a different company before withdrawing its application.

Hilda Parler, a former CSAB member and president of Wake Prep’s board, said Monday that there’s high demand for high school charter seats among families in northern Wake.

“The population in the Wake Forest, Rolesville area is growing leaps and bounds,” Parler said. “New construction is everywhere.”

Parler was asked why she didn’t apply to just open a charter high school. She answered that a K-12 charter school would be more “lucrative” and “economically feasible” than only offering high school.

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