There is a new gold rush called Charter Schools. Of all the reasons for supporting charter schools, the reason least discussed — at least publicly — is the profit motive. Yes, charter schools can be a source of big bucks. This is how it works.
- Create a Non-Profit Charter School
- Contract with a for-profit Charter or Learning Management Organization to operate the school.
- Contract with an authorizing charter school sponsor (i.e. school district, public university or new state commission)
- Sign lease (with a private property owner since many school districts have sold or leased their surplus buildings due to budget shortages)
- The charter school board secures construction funds from state school building fund to build out new space to suit (funds that used to support 20 schools in a district now are divided amongst 21 schools)
- Secure per student allocation from state coffers based on early enrollment numbers (money that would have been divided among the 20 schools in a district is now being divided among 21 schools in that district)
- Receive transportation and food services from the local school district (who used to serve 20 schools but now have to serve 21 schools)
- Secure grant funding from Walmart — $25 million to subsidize our charter schools 21:1 student to teacher ratio; longer school days and to augment our per pupil state allocation with an additional $12,000 so we can show how privatization is more effective than public education.
- Pay the Learning Management Organization’s administrative fees
- Pay the lease to the private property owner (who just happens to be a subsidiary of the learning management organization hired to administer the non-profit charter school).
- Take your tax payer subsidized profits all the way to the bank.
Don’t believe this is true?
In Washington State, the bill introduced to authorize charter schools requires that the transformation zone district be run by a “learning management organization”.
HB 2428 does not prohibit the non-profit charter school board from contracting with a for-profit management corporation.
Charter schools are eligible for school construction funds.
Each time the legislature fails in their duty to fully fund public education, schools districts have been forced to close and sell or lease (long-term) surplus school buildings.
Walmart donated $25.5 mil to KIPP schools, the largest charter management organization in the country.
And, if you aren’t afraid of nightmares, check out the cautionary charter school tale in Chester, PA and an investigative report from Minnesota.
Studying on a Shoestring — Chester Pennsylvania http://www.economist.com/node/21543198
State charter schools program is ‘out of control’ http://www.startribune.com/investigators/75464082.html?source=error
If you believe private schools should not be subsidized with public dollars, all Washington state citizens should call the House Education Committee members and tell them to vote no on HB 2428. http://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/ED/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx
The WA State Senate has a companion bill (SB 5191) so you may want to call them as well. http://www.leg.wa.gov/Senate/Committees/EDU/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx