Disqus

Friday, October 26, 2012

Google "charter Schools" and "financial scandal" - This is just the Tip of the Iceberg

Updates from the Orlando Sentinel, about the story about the charter school principal who got $500K when the school was forced to close.  I got it wrong - it was $519K and her take for the whole year?  $824,000. 

In June, the charter school's board cited Young for "leadership" and "providing an excellent educational opportunity for at risk and underprivileged children in Orange County" in its resolution authorizing the payout of more than $500,000 upon the school's closing.

A principal of a school of 180 kids and;

In 2011-12, NorthStar High School's directors paid Principal Kelly Young more than twice as much money as they spent on the school's educational program.

By comparison, the school spent $366,042 on instruction, including teacher salaries, last school year, according to an audit paid for by the school.

The school lacked computers, a library or cafeteria services at its facility in concrete portables on Curry Ford Road. According to the January report by Orange County Public Schools, the school's reading teacher was not certified in reading and NorthStar didn't have someone certified to teach English language-learners.

The school, which operated for 11 years, was never an academic standout. It's last grade from the state was a D, but it was losing ground last year. "It wasn't a good educational environment for students," said Christopher Bernier, who oversees charter schools in Orange County. "They weren't producing. They weren't learning."

Florida lawmakers are outraged:

"I have never seen an act that egregious in 15 years of working with charters," said State Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey, a charter school business administrator who started a charter school 15 years ago. State lawmakers from both parties are calling for reforms to the charter law that would add transparency and accountability.

Montford said he's already drafting legislation that would make charter schools more accountable and transparent.

"There may be others out there, but we don't know," he said. "Florida is known for transparency. Why does it stop at the charter school door?"

End of update.

In the latest in how to lose public education dollars, this story from NBC News.   (I'll call out in red how this parallels I-1240.)  

A Florida state senator is calling for an investigation into the payout of more than $500,000 to the principal of a failed Orange County charter school.

A school board chairman blasted the payout of taxpayer money, which has sparked outrage in Orlando, as “immoral and unethical.” 

Kelly Young, principal of NorthStar High School in Orlando, received a check for $519,453.96 in June, about the same time the Orange County School Board accepted the school’s plan to close in lieu of being forced to shut down based on declining student achievement, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

The Sentinel also reported that Young was “still being paid thousands of dollars a month” at the time to complete the school’s affairs. The school serves about 180 students in east Orange County.

Young's payment was authorized by the charter school's independent board, which is separate from the Orange County School Board, in June. At the time, the independent board called it "well-deserved and earned for her years of dedicated service at a below-market rate of compensation," the Sentinel reported.

Orange County School District officials say they were unaware of the principal's payment because the school isn’t required to report it under Florida's charter school law, according to the Sentinel.
Young’s attorney, Larry Brown, said the payment was justified. "Here's a lady with no retirement, who at that point had put six years of her life into the school, feeling like she had to make provision for retirement in her contract," Brown told the Sentinel.  (Note; most teachers in charters don't have retirement in their contracts either.)

Money leftover from charter schools is supposed to funnel back to school districts upon closure.
According to the Sentinel,

NorthStar, which had a balance of $717,293 at the end of the 2011 school year, has not turned over any money to Orange County Public Schools.

A statement provided to the district by the charter school showed a balance of less than $10,000 on June 29.

More charter school scandals.   It makes Silas Potter look like a piker.  

This site is called...Charter School Scandals and is cross-referenced by charter group, foundations, and states. 

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

But 41 other states are being corrupted and fleeced by charters, so why shouldn't we join in? WSDWG

Anonymous said...

How about Googling "Seattle School District" and "financial scandal" and tell me what your point is again?

Signed,
Let's get some perspective

suep. said...

@Let's get some perspective
Precisely. Seattle certainly does not need any new scandal-prone bureaucracies added to its mix. So you're right -- We should all vote NO to charters!

Anonymous said...

So since this poor principal devoted 6 years and had no retirement component to her compensation package I gotta ask...

Did the teachers have a retirement component to their compensation package?

Oompah

Unknown said...

Let's get some perspective, I did stick Silas Potter in the thread but really, this is on a vastly different scale.

Patrick said...

Potter should have been caught sooner. BUT he did get caught, and the money he took or misspent on his friends was relatively small compared to the abuse that charters invite.

mirmac1 said...

Georgia's going through the same thing as Washington

Filings: Pro-charter amendment campaign swamps opposition in fundraising

http://www.ajc.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/filings-pro-charter-amendment-campaign-swamps-oppo/nSpfn/

Anonymous said...

More lost money

http://www.denverpost.com/investigations/ci_19997418


Public School Parent

Jan said...

To Let's Get Some Perspective --

Yes. Do, let's! When Potter made off with a bunch of District assets, under the slumbering or ethically compromised noses of any number of folks, what happened?

Well, an investigation ensued. When it hit the press, his uber boss (MGJ) and her right hand man (Kennedy) were sent packing; Potter was arrested and charged (and no doubt will be required to make restitution, though I have no clue exactly where the prosecution of his case stands). His more immediate bosses likely WOULD have been fired, but they had jumped ship already. But at least they are gone. The program he administered was cancelled; processes and procedures were revised (time will tell, I guess). The Urban League took a huge hit, had ITS contracts cancelled, and subsequently filed for bankruptcy (at least that is what I recall) -- at a minimum, they are selling their building.

So -- you know, it was a Big, expletive-deleted, illegal deal; a ton of heads rolled, and I don't think it is truly over yet.

Now, cut to Florida. The school closes with between $700,000 and $725,000 in the bank and a state law that says funds have to be returned (to the state or the District). No money is returned. There is now $10,000; the balance went mostly into the principal's pocket, with a little left over to pay people (probably including the principal)ridiculous amounts to "close up the school."

And the upshot. Nada. Nothing. All legal. Even though no one knew, or could have prevented the waste and abuse in the contract, there will be no prosecution. There will be no restitution. It was all done on the "private" side -- where people in dark corners can cut whatever deals they like. And as they laugh and swing their money bags (full of TAXPAYER MONEY) on the train leaving town -- there is not one damn thing the taxpayers can do about it.

How's all that for some perspective?

Jan said...

Oh, on the Potter side of the ledger, I forgot. Half of the school board facing election in the next election cycle lost THEIR jobs, too!

And my apologies for swearing. It just gets tiresome, facing ill-conceived "tit for tat" arguments that have little to recommend themselves except some thin veneer of false equivalency.

Anonymous said...

Charter School administrating companies = snake oil salesmen.