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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tony Bennett has a history of favoring charter schools over public schools

From Scathing Purple Musings, by Bob Sykes

From reporter Dan Goldblatt of Indiana Public News:

A Marion County judge has decided that the Indiana State Board of Education misappropriated several million dollars of funding to charter schools. The money was being withheld from Indianapolis Public Schools.
When private companies took over four Indianapolis Public Schools to become charters, the State Board of Education counted the number of kids enrolled in the takeover schools during the 2011-2012 academic year, the last year IPS was in charge.
When the charter schools took over this year, enrollment in those four schools dropped by almost 50-percent. However, according to a statement from IPS, the state gave the charter schools funding based on the previous year’s enrollment.
Furthermore, IPS charged, the money tied to the kids who transferred from a takeover school back to IPS did not follow the child; it stayed with the charter school.
A judge this week decided the state should have looked at this year’s enrollment when distributing funding to the schools, and ruled that more than $6 million must be returned to IPS.
Three of the four schools taken over are now operated by Charter Schools USA.  Spokesperson Colleen Reynolds says while she doesn’t know if or how the state will recoup the money, it does not plan to change its model.
“We are going to provide the educational services and the caring environment that we’ve established so far,” she says. “We’re going to continue what we’ve been doing.”
The Department of Education says it is currently reviewing the ruling to determine next steps
Floridians are seeing the way that Tony Bennett can be expected to do business in Florida. Small wonder he received $5000 from Charter Schools’ USA real estate development arm late during his campaign. Two separate departments whose heads answer to Bennett will provide oversight to Charter Schools USA. Moreover, Bennett’s position on the state board allows him to vote on disputes Charter Schools USA has with local school boards.
Bennett was never properly vetted and the only version of his Indian tenure came from extreme partisans. The campaign cash that went to support Bennett’s Indiana run from Florida included donations from three members of the state board who hired him. Such an obscene misappropriation of funds likely will get a shrug from this state board. You see, the “school choice” ends justifies any shady means which cronies engage.

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