Archives for category: For-Profit

Carol Burris concludes here her fourth installment of the sad story of the charter school movement in California. What once was a movement intended to help and collaborate with public schools has been taken over by the power-hungry and the greedy, intent on displacing and destroying public education.

California is now the “wild west of charter schools” because of the state’s refusal to oversee the operations of these schools. Public money is handed out to almost anyone who wants it, and supervision is almost non-existent.

Burris writes:

The shine is off the charter school movement. Freedom from regulation, the sine qua non of the charter world, has resulted too often in troubled schools, taxpayer fleecing and outright fraud. Charters have become material for late-night comedians. That is never a good sign; just ask the proponents of the Common Core.

The greatest blow to charter momentum, however, was delivered by the NAACP. When delegates’ voted for a moratorium on new charters, it unleashed the fury of the charterphiles. A piece on the pro-reform website Education Post was titled, “The NAACP Was Founded by White People and It Still Isn’t Looking Out for Black Families,” accusing the premier civil rights organization of being “morally anemic.” And yet, despite the vitriol and critique, the NAACP board of directors stood fast, supported its delegates, and issued a strong statement calling for charter reform.

The passage of Question 2 on the November ballot in Massachusetts, which would lift the cap on charter schools, once seemed a sure thing. Now support has plummeted. The ballot measure is down by 11 points, having lost support among Democrats, especially from the progressive wing.

The problems with loosely regulated charters can no longer be brushed aside.

In the past three posts of my series on California charters (here, here and here), I highlighted some of the serious problems that exist in a state with weak governing laws, a powerful lobby propped up by billionaires, and a governor who consistently vetoes bills aimed at charter reform. California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat who is usually progressive, has a blind spot when it comes to charters. The governor’s enthusiastic fundraising efforts on behalf of the two charters he started in Oakland came under scrutiny in the Los Angeles Times.

As a result, the problems with charters in the state bear an eerie resemblance to the those found in far more conservative states. As I spoke with Californians, I often felt quite depressed. The story line became clear—a state that generally holds progressive values financially abandoned its public schools with the passage of Proposition 13, thus crippling school funding. That was followed by a scramble to a charter solution to compensate for years of underfunding and neglect. That, in turn, opened the door to profit making schemes, corporate reformers hell-bent on destroying unions, and frankly, a lot of irresponsible educational models, such as storefront charters, boutique schools and “academies” linked to for-profits like K12.

There is hope, however, that California can alter its course. Despite all of the obstacles that stand in the way, there are Californians who want charter reform. They are exposing corruption, illegality, profit-making schemes and schools that are clearly not in the best interest of children. In this final piece, I will highlight some of their work.

Open the piece to see the links and to learn more about Burris’s reasons for optimism.

Pennsylvania became an ATM for the charter industry under Republican Governor Tom Corbett. He is gone now, but the legislature remains indebted to the fat, happy charter owners. Many public school districts are on the brink of bankruptcy due to the rapacious charters that snare their students with deceptive advertising. Pennsylvania has more virtual charter schools than any other state, despite the fact that study after study (including one by CREDO, funded by the Daltons) has shown that virtual charters are educational disaster zones. Students who enroll in them don’t learn anything, but the virtual charter industry is rolling in dough. Two different virtual charter leaders have been indicted for theft in Pennsylvania; one admitted stealing millions of dollars, the other saw her trial dismissed because of age and infirmity but was indicted for theft of millions.

Into this land of struggling public schools and thriving charters comes a new legislative plot to privatize and monetize public school funding. It is called HB530. Under the (usual) guise of “reform,” the bill would open the door to the vaults that hold taxpayer money meant for children and welcome the charters to help themselves.

HB530 is a blank check for a rapacious, greedy industry.

Lawrence Feinberg of the Keystone State Education Coalition wrote this post, “20 Reasons to Vote No on PA HB530.”

Here are a few of his reasons:

Pennsylvania taxpayers now spend more than $1.4 billion on charter and cyber charter schools annually, in addition to funding the state’s traditional public schools. The current “rob from public school Peter to pay charter school Paul” system drains money from traditional public schools, forcing districts to cut programs and services for the students who remain. In 2011, the charter reimbursement line was eliminated from the state budget. It provided state funding to districts for the costs and financial exposure resulting from the addition of charter schools.

Legislators are now considering House Bill 530, which would bring much-needed reform to the charter school law that was written in 1997. The bill has several helpful provisions, but the harm that it does far outweighs the good. Here are 20 reasons that the legislature should vote against this measure.

#HB530 does not provide significant accountability to taxpayers for payments made to charter school entities.

#HB530 would create a Charter School Funding Commission that would consider establishing an independent state-level board to authorize charter school entities, bypassing any local decision-making by school boards and their communities.

#HB530 further limits the ability of communities to negotiate the role of charters locally. The decisions about how, when, and where to expand them should be made by those who have the information and expertise to do so in ways that improve education.

#HB530 is an entirely unwarranted intervention in the local governance of school districts. It would remove local control of tax dollars from Pennsylvania taxpayers and their elected school directors.

#HB530 sets no limits to money that charters can drain from local school districts, eliminating districts’ capability to plan and budget.

#HB530 is a vehicle for the Pennsylvania legislature to have local taxpayers pay for unlimited charter expansion.

#HB530 would let charter operators expand and add grades without any local input or authorization, regardless of performance.

#HB530 would let charters expand by enrolling students from outside of the district in which it is located.

If you want to save public education in Pennsylvania, contact your legislators now.

I recently posted Carol Burris’s analysis of a court decision in California that blocked the sneaky expansion of charters into districts outside the one where they were authorized; the new charters called themselves “resource centers” and were infiltrating districts that did not want them.

Here is a report by the San Diego Union-Tribune on the same decision.

California’s booming satellite charter school industry that has persevered through lawsuits, scandals and turf wars suffered a blow this past week when a state appellate court ruled hundreds of the campuses are illegally operating outside their districts.

At issue now is how 150,000 California students — including 25,000 in San Diego County — will continue their education. The court decision also puts at stake millions of dollars in revenue generated by the charters for privately run organizations.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal overturned a lower court decision in a lawsuit filed by the Anderson Union High School District near Redding claiming the Shasta Secondary Home School (now Shasta Charter Academy) illegally opened satellite charter campus, which are officially called resource centers, in its jurisdiction.

Filed Monday and set to go into effect Nov. 16, the appellate decision reverses the lower court ruling, which sided with the charter that was authorized by the nearby Shasta Union High School District. The lower court said it was legal to operate a resource center, as such schools are officially called, in the neighboring Anderson district to give its independent-study students who live there a chance to use computers, receive tutoring and work on assignments in a classroom setting.

Of the state’s 1,200 charter schools, 275 are “resource centers,” many of them storefronts where students show up from time to time. That means that unless this decision is overturned by the state’s Supreme Court, more than 20% of California’s charter schools will cease to operate or seek some other option to survive.

San Diego public schools will welcome the return of the students in these “non-classroom-based” charters:

Andra Donovan, general counsel for the San Diego Unified School District, offers another option: Returning to district and its expanded catalog of independent-study programs.

San Diego Unified “is fully prepared and has sufficient capacity to absorb those students currently attending these charter schools, with fully robust, higher quality independent study and online learning programs as well as traditional and blended programs,” Donovan said. “Our graduation rate far exceeds that of many of these them and our district provides integrated support not available from these charters.”

These “resource centers” are locations intended to coordinate online instruction, which has repeatedly been shown to be a farce, educationally, an easy way to collect credits without getting an education.

Some districts opened resource centers because it was easy money.

Online instruction offers flexibility to students who want an alternative to traditional schools, and big revenue to charter organizations and authorizers. Districts that approve the charters receive up to 3 percent of their revenue for oversight and other services.

The Julian Union district opened its first charter in 1999, and now enrolls some 4,000 students in its charter resource centers across the region. Fewer then 400 local students attend Julian’s district schools.

The tiny rural two-campus district earned nearly $800,000 in revenue from its Julian and Diego Valley charters in the 2014-15 year, when its total revenue was $6.2 million.

Former Julian Superintendent Kevin Ogden helped establish the district’s first charter school, which took in $18 million in revenue last year, and operates 14 programs in eleven facilities.

Ogden helped usher in Diego Valley and Harbor Springs charters, both of which operate resource centers in other districts through independent study programs that offer as much as four days a week of classroom instruction or as little as a few teacher meetings. The Grossmont lawsuit targets Diego Valley.

Ogden retired about two years ago to take a top job at the Lancaster-based Learn4Life, an organization that includes Diego Valley, its Diego Plus Education Corporation and other charters throughout the state.

Following Julian’s lead, dozens of far-flung charters and resource centers have been authorized by other small East County districts, including some that acknowledged the arrangements were forged mostly for the money.

Does anyone seriously believe that the students who receive diplomas from these sham institutions are getting a high-quality education? Is this the way the U.S. will compete in the global economy? Hey, reformers, this is a farce.

In one of the most ethically-challenged actions of former Education Department officials, a group made a bid for the for-profit University of Phoenix, whose fortunes were waning due to regulations and oversight by the prospective new purchasers. The Wall Street Journal cried foul when the deal went public months ago, saying that the same government officials who drove down the UP stock price were taking advantage of the low price for their own gain.

Politico reports that enrollment at UP continues to fall, but the deal is moving ahead:

“WITH SALE ON THE LINE, UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX ENROLLMENT DOWN AGAIN: The parent company of the University of Phoenix reported another sharp drop in enrollment Thursday, while a proposed sale of the for-profit college giant continues to hang in the balance. Apollo Education Group told investors that enrollment at the University of Phoenix was 142,500 as of Aug. 31 – a more than 25 percent decline from a year earlier. New enrollments also fell by nearly 27 percent, to 19,400. A group of private investors with ties to the Obama administration are seeking to buy Apollo. The company had previously warned that if the sale wasn’t completed by early October, its worsening financial condition might sink the deal. But Thursday Apollo Education told investors that it currently meets the minimum financial standards required for the deal to close – and expects to continue meeting those standards going forward. Michael Stratford has more.”

To read the links, read here:

Graduation rates at for-profit institutions are abysmal.

They have been called predators in Cipongressional hearings. They prey on the unwary.

Their defenders and lobbyists are described here.

Former tennis star Andre Agassi opened a charter school in Las Vegas a few years back. He collected millions of dollars from adoring fans. He promised that his school would prepare every student for college. It was supposed to be easy. But there were many problems. Principals came and went. Teachers came and went. The school was a disaster. An article written in 2012 said:

More than 10 years after it opened, Agassi Prep, one of the first charter schools in Nevada, and arguably the most high-profile, is still finding its way. The school serves students from kindergarten to 12th grade (it’s arranged into elementary, middle and high schools), and graduated its first class in 2009. Like all public schools, it receives more than $6,000 per student from the state and county, and supplements that with private funding. During the last school year, Agassi Prep spent $11,069 to educate each of its 600 students.

“My impressions were that everyone wanted the school to be one of the best schools in the nation,” Piscal said. “It hasn’t all come together, and there is some frustration about that. But people still wanted to make it happen.”

Piscal has been on the job for more than a year. He is the sixth person to lead the school since it opened in 2001. But high turnover is not restricted to the chancellor’s office. Teachers, principals and staff come and go like visiting teams. Former teachers said the constant turnover creates a chaotic learning environment. Although the school has a high graduation rate and sends most of its graduates to college, it has had little success getting students into top-tier institutions, and many of its graduates attend community college.

Piscal wants to change that. The charter school veteran came to Agassi in January 2011. Not only is he trying to increase academic rigor, especially at the high-school level, he’s also supervising an increase in enrollment that will almost double the student body.

He’s already had some success staunching turnover at the high school and middle school. When he arrived, many positions were held by long-term substitutes. Some students had four or five teachers over the school year. Most of those subs have since been replaced by teachers who survived a rigorous interview process, Piscal said.

(The interesting thing about this article–which is unique in describing the struggles of the school– is that I quoted it in my 2013 book “Reign of Error.” At the time, it was easily discovered through googling by the school’s name. However, when I searched for it to link for this post, the article had disappeared. It took repeated efforts to find it, and it is filed under the name of a state assemblyman. I can’t help but suspect that an Internet mechanism was used to bury this piece.)

Agassi, bear in mind, is a high-school dropout.

But he saw a good money-making deal and he went for more, leaning on the alleged success of his Las Vegas charter school. He teamed up with an equity investor named Bobby Turner, and they raised nearly a billion dollars for charter investment deals. The first one they built was sold to KIPP in Philadelphia, and the Agassi team made a profit of $1 million.

The team recently opened its fifth charter school and its first charter in Washington, D.C., called the Rocketship Rise Academy. On the day it opened, it declared itself a high-performing school.

Carol Burris is writing a four-part series about charter schools in California. She recently traveled to California to visit charter schools. She found it difficult to get information on certain charter schools, because some are not located in the district that authorized them. Transparency and accountability appear to be non-existent. A recent newspaper series about the online charter K12, Inc., demonstrated that it makes a handsome profit while delivering poor education. But the state has taken no action.

Public money meant for public schools is freely handed out to charters with no supervision or oversight.

She learned about a charter school called WISE, and it sounded good on paper:

The Wise Academy is tucked away on a Girl Scout camp on the Bothin Youth Center in Fairfax, Calif. Its students attend classes in yurts and barns. Wise, which stands for Waldorf-Inspired School of Excellence, follows the curriculum taught in Waldorf private schools — its students garden, enjoy a games class, and celebrate All Souls Day and Michaelmas.

Students must apply to attend, and its preliminary application makes it clear that parents are supposed to pony up cash. The full application demands that families provide all sources of income. The school’s donate button has a default donation of $2,000. A cash-strapped parent would quickly infer that their family “need not apply.”

How many students attend Wise Academy and how well do they achieve? For the taxpaying public, that is a mystery.

You cannot find this K-6 charter school, which has been in operation for three years, on the state’s Education Department website. Rick Bagley, the superintendent of the Ross Valley School District in which Wise is located, was never informed of its presence as required by law.

The state has thus far refused to monitor charter schools or hold them accountable.

A bill that would have banned for-profit charters in California was vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2015. An additional bill, which would have prevented financially troubled districts from authorizing charters in other districts, was vetoed by Brown last month. The president of the California State Board of Education, Michael Kirst, worked as a K12 consultant, before his appointment by Brown.

Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia is pushing a constitutional amendment to allow the state to take over low-scoring public schools. He calls it an “opportunity school district” and points to New Orleans and the Tennessee Achievement School Districts as models. He brought called together a group of African-American ministers and asked for their support.

Here is the response from one of the attendees, who knew that neither New Orleans or the Tennessee ASD had helped the neediest students. Governor Deal couldn’t answer his questions, because the ALEC model legislation doesn’t explain why cessation of democracy helps schools or what to do after privatizing the schools and giving them to corporations.

Here is the report by Rev. Chester Ellis:

Governor’s Ministers Summoning Meeting was a School Takeover Sales Pitch
By Rev. Chester Ellis 912-257-2394
Pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Savannah, Georgia

Governor Nathan Deal is working hard to sell the voters on what he calls an Opportunity School District. But this is an opportunity that Georgia should not take.

Recently, The Governor made a pitch to twenty-nine African American ministers in the basement of the mansion. No media was present. But I was one of those ministers.

If Amendment One was about education and opportunity for our communities and children, we could at least hold a logical discussion about evidence-based solutions. As a retired educator and community activist, it is very clear to me that his Opportunity School District is not about education or the community. He has no plan or roadmap to improve schools.

Gov. Deal was looking for our support. He stated, “I need your help.” But we left with more questions than we had answers. It truly is a takeover, and one whose extent is clear to very few voters.

I was disappointed. I thought the Governor would be able to lay out his plan in detail to us. But, what I got from the Governor is he’s making it up as he goes. There’s really no plan. At best, it was guesswork.

Bishop Marvin L. Winans, who has a charter school in Detroit, was the first to speak to us. Brother Winans is a minister and an award winning Gospel singer. He does not live in Georgia. Marvin talked about why he had established his school in Detroit and why he thought it was a good idea that the Governor was willing to do something to help failing schools. But we didn’t have a chance to dialog with him, ask questions or shed light on anything here in Georgia for him. He left for a concert, almost as quickly as he appeared!

Afterwards, the Governor followed with a spiel about why he thought he needed to take over the schools and why the Black clergymen needed to be in support of Amendment 1, The Opportunity School District. He then opened the session up for questions.

I asked him, what is the student to teacher ratio per class of all the schools on your list for takeover? He said he did not have the answer to that question.

My rationale for asking that question was that research tells us ideal pupil to teacher ratio should be 18 to 1, and the further schools and classrooms go past that recommended ratio, the more they are setting students up for failure. Districts need resources to address that problem. The A plus Act of 2000 provided such resources. In fact, this Governor has taken more resources from our public schools. The governor added that he needed to do more research on that issue, so I invited him to do that and gave him some websites he could Google.

I also asked the Governor if all of the schools that are having trouble, as defined by him, are predominately African American schools. He replied, not so much, but that when they looked at schools that were failing they looked at schools that were in a cluster. And that the ministers summoned to the meeting were invited more for being in those identified clusters of schools.

One of my colleagues asked the Governor for the specifics of his Opportunity School District plan. Deal replied that he was using different models, and two of the models he mentioned were the Louisiana Recovery School District and the Tennessee Achievement School District models. Then the question was raised about both of those state’s backing away from the models because they failed to accomplish their achievement goals. In fact indicators prove that New Orleans is worse off now The Governor replied, “We are going to look at what they did wrong, and correct their mistakes so that ours will be right. You know, we have to do something, we are willing to try this and then if it doesn’t work, we are willing to work on what doesn’t work and straighten it out.” The problem with the Governor’s logic is that he is asking the voters to change the state’s constitution. We can’t back up if the voters do that!

The Governor says OSD is a “plan in the works”. . So I urged the Governor to use Massachusetts as a model rather than one from Tennessee or Louisiana, which have both failed.

According to a recent article in Education Week, scholars at the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation and Philadelphia-based Research in Action organization found that some states are proposing to mimic “opportunity school district” takeover models despite evidence that prototypes of these models have gone awry. The esteemed Education Week reports that imitating these models are not an appropriate prescription for providing support for schools that needs it.

Massachusetts put their plan in place with on the ground, in the classrooms education practitioners. . Legislators met with them and applied the educator’s advice and professional know how. They set out on a course working together and didn’t change the course until they got the results they were striving for. They are now one of the celebrated and better school systems in the country. I asked the Governor, why didn’t his planners and plans look at that type of successful model?

He replied, “It’s because of demographics.” I responded that clearly Massachusetts doesn’t look like Georgia but education isn’t rocket science …..It requires an understanding of what you are working with. I also referenced just one of many of our state’s successful public school model, Woodville Thompkins High School in Savannah. I’m a graduate of that school and I have worked since 2006 with that school and the community. As a result it is an award winning school in many disciplines.

For the last two years, Woodville-Tompkins Technical and Career High School has had a 100 percent Graduation rate. They have also been cited as being one of the top 30 programs worldwide in Robotics. There is a way to turn schools around and it doesn’t require a Constitutional Amendment. I don’t see the need. It takes a little elbow grease and total involvement from parents, community and legislators to sustain evidence based solutions and models that are already working.

I don’t buy the Governor’s program or plans. He’s selling the public on a quick fix. I think the Governor has some friends who see education as a carte blanche card; something they can make money off of. It’s about the money, not about the children. The legislation doesn’t even define what a failing school is. The Governor has spent little or no time educating the public on the thirteen pages that compose all of the little devils in his plan per Senate Bill 133. He is spending lots of time though, selling his plan.

The Governor is a lame duck, yet he’s asking citizens to trust him blindly and give him all the power over their schools, public property, pocketbooks and children by changing the constitution.

I thanked the Governor for inviting me, but I told him before I left that there are too many uncertainties and too many unanswered questions to go before my congregation and say we should support this. I’m not comfortable with the Governor’s answers or his solutions. His Opportunity School District has no facts and no plans to improve schools. This is an opportunity that citizens can’t afford to take. It is all about the money. It’s just that simple.

Before the second debate tonight, the Journey for Justice asks the candidates to respond to these questions:


(773) 548-7500
October 8, 2016

Education activists release statement ahead of second presidential debate: “Will the next president be tone deaf…”

CHICAGO – Today, Jitu Brown, national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance (J4JA) released the following statement ahead of the second presidential debate in St. Louis on Sunday, September 9th. Thousands of African American and Latino parents, students and activists have challenged both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump (and third-party candidates) to release their K-through-12 public education platforms, as well as identify how, if elected, they will work to end federal education policies that have destabilized communities and hurt students of color:

“As parents, students and residents of communities impacted by corporate education interventions in 24 cities across this nation, we are dismayed by the omission of public education as an issue during this presidential election season. Public education repeatedly polls as a top tier issue, but has been largely ignored by both major and third party candidates,” said Brown.

“Will the next president be tone deaf to the tremors from the ground? As a national network of grassroots community organizations across America, we have seen first-hand a determined resistance to failed, top-down corporate education interventions that cannot be ignored; Title VI civil rights complaints filed in 12 cities, thousands of people in determined protest against school closings, sit-ins and traffic blockades, students occupying the superintendent’s office in Newark, a 34-day hunger strike to save a neighborhood’s last open-enrollment high school in Chicago, the rejection of punitive standardized test across the nation and from those who wish to be the leader of the free world; silence.

“The next president must base their advocacy in relationship with people’s lived reality, not corporate relationships. When a mother cries in Detroit because her child’s school is being closed, or students walk-out by the thousands in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Camden and Newark, Baltimore and Philadelphia; it matters. The next president must understand that the United States ranks 19th in the world in public education among OECD countries but when you remove poverty we are number 2. The next president must have the courage to stare down inequity in public education with a commitment to hear the voices of the people directly impacted. The next president must understand that we do not have failing schools in America, as a public we have been failed,” he continued.

“We are asking the next president to meet with the Journey for Justice Alliance and adopt our education platform. Include J4J on your education transition team so that public policy can be rooted in our lived experiences, not someone’s opinion of our communities. We were disappointed that the vice-presidential candidates said nothing about public education in their October 4th debate. We want to hear from both candidates on October 9th about their education agenda. Will they be honest about the harm inflicted on our communities by school closings and the unwarranted expansion of charter schools? Will they acknowledge that the “illusion of choice” must be erased by the reality of strong, high quality neighborhood schools within safe walking distance of our homes? We will be watching.”


The Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J) ( is a national network of inter-generational, grassroots community organizations led primarily by Black and Brown people in 24 U.S. cities. With more than 40,000 active members, we assert that the lack of equity is one of the major failures of the American education system. Current U.S. education policies have led to states’ policies that lead to school privatization through school closings and charter school expansion which has energized school segregation, the school-to-prison pipeline; and has subjected children to mediocre education interventions that over the past 15 years have not resulted in sustained, improved education outcomes in urban communities.

Journey For Justice Alliance
4242 S. Cottage Grove
Chicago, IL 60653

Pat and Sue Legg of the Florida League of Women Voters have performed q public service by detailing how for-profit charter companies rip off taxpayers and cheat children.

You can be sure Jeb Bush will not assign this report when he lectures at Harvard this fall about the Florida “miracle” that no one can see other than himself and his hirelings.

Here is the beginning. Please note that 40% of taxpayer funds goes to the management company, not to educating students. What a racket!

Hall and Legg write:


“Florida now educates more than 230,000 students at more than 650 publicly funded charter schools. While many of these schools are providing good educational opportunities, we have found that the fundamental structure of the for-profit management companies, specifically Charter Schools USA, must be questioned. The following outline summarizes a very detailed report given the LWVF Board this past summer.

“1. CSUSA has six non-profit school boards that operate 49 schools in 12 urban counties in Florida. Additionally, CSUSA operates 17 schools in 6 other states.

“2. The six governing school boards cover the 49 charters and are run by CSUSA; they are not independent of the management companies.

“3. Inter related affiliated businesses include Red Apple Development, Ryan Construction Company, the Florida Charter Education Foundation and Connex (curriculum software). Furthermore, we found over 300 limited liability companies (LLCs) initiated by CSUSA.

“4. Facilities financing incorporates all aspects of land acquisition, site clearing, construction, bond financing and multimillion dollar lease fees. CSUSA charges the Hillsborough County School district at one of their four schools more than $30/square foot, significantly higher than downtown Tampa skyscrapers!

“5. Tracking expenditures of taxpayer monies is impossible due to for-profit business practices which are not transparent.

“6. Long term lease agreements, after flipping (changing deeds from one related company to the next) from Ryan Construction to Red Apple Development, are charged out 40 years, and charge rent and interest amounts on top of the lease payments. Most CSUSA lease fees in Hillsborough County take 25% of all taxpayer dollars designated for educating children. Some are even higher.

“7. Another 13% to 15% is charged by CSUSA for management fees, hence 40% of public money is not spent instructing children. State auditors have questioned how these costs are reported.

“8. Evidence exists of real estate “flipping” by CSUSA in Hillsborough County. This results in new real estate appraisals to increase value. Lease and rent costs use these values to justify cost charged to charter budgets.


“By Pat Hall and Sue Legg, LWVF Education Team, June 2016

“Introduction. District school boards grant charter school contracts to private entities and monitor their financial balance sheets, but by legislative intent, they do not have responsibility for their management and operation. Charters have little regulation, and the result has been a continuing saga of scandals. This report goes beyond the mismanagement and corruption issues to the fundamental structure of for-profit management companies, and it questions the accountability of these companies for their use of public funds. Charters may be self-managed or operated by non-profit or for-profit companies. We focus on one for-profit charter management company, Charter Schools, USA (CSUSA). Florida has several others including, Academica which was the focus of a federal investigation, and Newpoint charters which face indictments. A detailed example of the complex facility transactions for CSUSA’s Woodmont K-8 school raises the issue of excessive profiteering. We have data that indicate these business practices are not specific to one school or one company. CSUSA organizational structure: CSUSA is owned and operated by the CEO, Jonathan Hage. It has multiple interrelated entities whose operations are difficult to track. CSUSA has created six non-profit charter school boards to operate 49 publically funded, privately managed charter schools in 12 Florida counties. Additionally CSUSA operates 17 schools in 6 other states. These non-profit boards subcontract to the CSUSA for profit educational management firm which founded them.”

Chris Savage of Eclectablog writes about the disasters of privatization in Michigan.

There are at least three public services, he says, that should never be privatized:

Healthcare, education, and prisons.

Why? Because the bottom line is profit, not service or quality.

Yet Governor Snyder just can’t get over his certainty that privatization must work, if only he can find the right vendor. He can’t. The incentives to game the system for profit are too great, and they are baked in.