That was just in one year's time from 2010 to 2011. That's shocking to me. It takes money from traditional public schools, and it gives those resources to schools with little accountability.
The for-profit management company, Accelerated Learning Solutions out of Nashville, Tenn., raised its fee from $1 million in 2010 to nearly $3.2 million in 2011.The article points out that "with no itemized budget, taxpayers will have to take the company's word for it."
And the fee is charged on top of the school’s operating expenses, Brown said.
“It is a real problem, and it is something the public needs to be aware of,” said Orange County School Board chairman Bill Sublette. “We need our legislature to take a good, hard look at charter schools at limiting management fees."
Under current law, finding out how much in tax dollars are going to profit is impossible. ALS will not tell WFTV how much it is profiting off tax dollars, and it doesn’t have to, according to the law.
I can just imagine traditional public schools getting away with refusing to submit a budget and itemize expenses. Never will happen. And shouldn't.
Not just Florida either. In California there is an investigation into Ben Chavis' American Indian charter school. The article indicates this might lead to a criminal investigation of Chavis personally.
A state investigation into allegations of operational fraud and other unscrupulous activity by Ben Chavis -- a businessman who has also served, off and on, as director of three publicly funded but independently run charter schools named American Indian -- and his wife, who provided financial services to the school, cited numerous examples of financial conflicts of interest and fraudulent expenditures.Strange he is critical of public schools' use of taxpayer money when schools like his are literally taking that funding source away from them.
The American Indian Model's middle schools have the best test scores in Oakland and among the highest in the state; its high school also has near-perfect scores. In his book, "Crazy like a Fox," Director Ben Chavis touts the model's success and ridicules the public school system for wasting tax dollars, arguing that schools don't need more money.
But in recent months, Chavis' own stewardship of public funds has come under scrutiny. The state Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team, which produced the scathing report, was asked by Alameda County Superintendent Sheila Jordan to investigate allegations made by a former employee of financial abuses -- including a $100,000 salary he took during at least one year of his retirement.
Now that auditors have found significant evidence to back those claims,
Chavis could soon find himself the subject of a criminal investigation. Jordan announced Wednesday she would forward the case to the District Attorney's office, as recommended by the audit team. Jordan said she also wrote a letter to Oakland Superintendent Tony Smith, asking the district to consider revoking the schools' charters.
What a convenient argument for Chavis, that schools don't "need more money."
I doubt many public schools would get away with the forms of discipline he employs, either. It is said the most famous "brand of discipline is a student head-shaving that took place at a school assembly, with parent permission, after the boy was caught stealing."
These schools depend on taxpayer money, yet they do not want to account for how that money is spent. Few in the nation's leadership are visibly fighting this kind of thing, and the policy of this administration is to call for more charter schools.