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Monday, April 7, 2014

The Thin Line Between Charter Schools USA and Florida Law

From Scathing Purple Musings, by Bob Sykes

This week’s hilarious story that Charter Schools USA CEO Jonathan Hage owns a yacht called Fishin’ 4 Schools  overshadows what may be some major wrongdoing on the part of Hage. In a column that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Hillsborough League of Women Voters president, Shirley Arcuri revealed this little tidbit:
Another area where the distinction between public and private is blurred for the benefit of for-profits is in the issuing of bonds. Although Florida law prohibits charter schools from issuing bonds, Charter School USA has found a way.
When naming Jon Hage, CEO of Charter USA, as Floridian of the Year, Florida Trend in December 2012 contended that Charter School USA is the largest seller of charter school debt in the country. “It will sell $100 million worth of bonds this year, Hage says. … The bonds come with tax-exempt status because they are technically held by the nonprofit founding boards that oversee the schools.”
Hage is being modest. Over a three-year period, the amount is closer to $200 million.

Nice boat, Jon. And Rick Scott says thanks, Bro, for that $50,000.

You can be sure that Hage has all the tricky law stuff worked out. Like most so called “education reformers” who’ve gotten rich off taxpayer money intended for public schools he can give a pretty good lecture on what “the law” says

The combination of Hage’s non-profit facilities, his Red Apple Development corporation and his management company continue to keep him pretty cashed up and can afford cool yachts with a thumb-your-nose at everybody name. And it allows him to give lots of money to governors, now disgraced education commissioners and legislators who write legislation which support his lifestyle. 

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