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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How corrupt are Duval's charter schools? Well get comfortable and I will explain.

Before I start let me acknowledge that there are some charter schools that do a good job and some that really do care about our children but at the same time I hope you acknowledge that for a lot of charter schools making money is their number one priority and helping children is somewhere farther down the list.

From News4Jax

 Plan B is now Plan A for a local charter school after it discovered it's possibly been paying interest on $235,000 worth of apparently non-existent loans from its management company, Newpoint Education Partners.
Last month, the company was indicted in Escambia County on charges of grand theft, money laundering and aggravated white collar crime. The 21st Century Academy in Pensacola claimed the company and its vendors fraudulently billed them for "equipment, supplies and services."
Prosecutors said Newpoint was working with vendors to launder the stolen money through multiple bank accounts to conceal the criminal activity that has been going on since 2011.
What's a little money laundering between friend? This school is literally less than a mile from my house and the worst performing high school in the Mandarin area. If you are sending your child to this school not only are you part of a money laundering scheme but your kids are getting a substandard education when compared to other kids in the area.
Then there is Charter Schools USA who where they have not been indicted for anything, perhaps because they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying are just as bad if not worse.
From the Tampa Times: In Hillsborough, three charter schools that have opened since 2011 are owned by Charter Schools USA, a for-profit corporation, and these three alone enroll more than 20 percent of all charter students. In 2011, Woodmont Charter School, one of these three, expended 44 percent of its total revenue on instruction and 42 percent on management fees and leases. 

By contrast, traditional Hillsborough County schools spend at least 86 percent of revenue on instruction. Woodmont had FCAT scores of D for 2012 and F for 2013, and this is not unusual, since charter schools composed 50 percent of all F-rated Florida schools in 2011. Meanwhile, the six traditional public elementary schools and one middle school within 1 mile of Woodmont all have higher FCAT scores.
This is how Charter Schools USA operates: 
There is a very tangled web that this charter school weaves too. The land for their charters is usually purchased and the schools built by Red Apple, the construction/leasing arm of the for-profit Charter Schools USA outfit.  It is then leased to Renaissance charters, the non-profit arm of the aforementioned Charter Schools USA and if their history holds true above fair and market value. Renaissance then turns around and hires Charter School USA to manage their schools sending them an undetermined amount of management fees. This is a scam that would make Columbian drug dealing money launderers envious.

Let’s talk about Jonathon Hage the CEO of Charter Schools USA for a moment.   He operates just 58 schools, takes home millions in compensation, I have read as much as 4.8 million, lives in a 1.8 million dollar house and sends his children to an expensive private school. By comparison our super who runs 161 schools, makes 275 thousand and sends his children to public schools. I don’t know how much Superintendent Vitti’s house is worth and where I am sure it is nice I would guess it is worth less than 1.8 million dollars.  Furthermore does anybody like to go boating? Well the CEO of charter schools USA does and routinely takes out his, 350 thousand dollar 43 foot yacht which he named Fishin-4-Schools. An ironic name if there ever was one.

Then even though they do no business in Delaware that I can see and practically all their business is in Florida where the CEO also lives they are registered out of Delaware, presumably for some low tax dodge purpose. Now I believe they are paying taxes, just less in taxes than they would be paying if they were registered in the state where they did the bulk of their business.  

They are an organization made up of profiteers not educators.

Some people might say they are just playing the system to which I would respond, a system they bought and paid for and is that really the type of organization you want anywhere near your child let alone educating them?


  1. Hage, CEO of Charter Schools USA, sends his own children to a $20K/year private school, according to Florida Trend magazine. In the same article he declared “I don’t think profit is a four-letter word." No, it is a six-letter word. When applying for a charter in Pennsylvania a year or so ago the local newspaper wanted some info on Hage's company. He refused a face-to-face interview, requiring them to submit questions in writing. Of the 36 questions submitted Hage refused to answer a dozen, including a question on Hage's salary. This is typical non-transparency from Hage and his company. In 2013 Hage refused to answer a number of questions submitted by the Tampa Tribune. If profit is not a 4-letter word than why do they avoid detailing their profit margin?

  2. Chris, don't know if you saw this

    Problem is even though the media reported it, they failed to spell out the details for the average citizen. Unfortunately, not everyone realized that taxes are being paid to charters and possibly funding terrorism. I was waiting for that to be brought up throughout the story, but as usual the media failed us.