top school administrators are making deals with ->
Posted in the Ponte Vedra Beach Forum
#1 Jan 20, 2013
TOP SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS ARE MAKING DEALS WITH ->
FACT: SOME CORRUPT SCHOOL BOARD MEMBERS are Lining their Pockets and the Pockets of Family Members and Friends with Taxpayer Dollars.
How can some School Board Members be sooOOOOO EFFING COLD HEARTED. It's called "GREED" and this form of CORRUPTION is happening all across AMERICA in 2013!
In government, if I help myself to taxpayer dollars, we call that embezzlement and I go to jail. In the private sector, if I help myself to taxpayer dollars, we call that innovation and I get hailed as a visionary exponent of public-private partnership. That’s the lesson of a Nov. 17 investigation by Anne Ryman of the Arizona Republic into the state’s charter schools.
In her examination of Arizona’s 50 largest nonprofit charter schools and all of Arizona's nonprofit charter schools with assets exceeding $10 million, Ryman found “at least 17 contracts or arrangements, totaling more than $70 million over five years and involving about 40 school sites, in which money from the non-profit charter school went to for-profit or non-profit companies run by board members, executives or their relatives.” That says to me that in Arizona, at least, charter-school corruption isn’t the exception. It’s the rule. And that’s just in the nonprofit charter schools. Documentation for the for-profit schools is not publicly available. What are the odds that charter-school proprietors operating in the dark are less inclined to enrich themselves at public expense?
The self-dealing is entirely legal. All you have to do is get yourself an exemption from state laws requiring that goods and services be bid competitively. Clearly these exemptions aren’t difficult to acquire, because 90 percent of Arizona’s charter holders—not 90 percent of the charter schools surveyed by the Arizona Republic, but 90 percent of all the state's charter schools—have acquired permanent exemptions from state competitive bidding requirements. No exemption has ever been withdrawn by the state. If you are a charter-school officer and you stand to benefit personally from some financial transaction with the school, you may not vote on whether to make the purchase. But that’s about the only rule.
The result?“The schools’ purchases from their own officials,” Ryman writes,“range from curriculum and business consulting to land leases and transportation services. A handful of non-profit schools outsource most of their operations to a board member’s for-profit company.” A nonprofit called Great Hearts Academies runs 15 Arizona charter schools. Since 2009, according to Ryman, the schools have purchased $987,995 in books from Educational Sales Co., whose chairman, Daniel Sauer, is a Great Hearts officer. And that doesn’t count additional book purchases made directly by parents. Six of the Great Hearts schools have links on their Web sites for parents who wish to make such purchases. The links are, of course, to Educational Sales Co.
Arizona is perhaps extreme in the amount of latitude it grants charter school officials to enrich themselves, but indifferent enforcement of more strict legal prohibitions has the same effect. In D.C., for instance, a city official told Fallis and Witt that the relevant statute was enforced “on a case-by-case basis,” i.e., hardly ever. A Nov. 18 Post story further reported that private schools participating in the city’s voucher program—which in many cases are indistinguishable from charter schools—don’t even have to report to the city how many publicly funded students they have, or how well they’re performing. So in addition to providing ample opportunities for self-enrichment, at least some public-private experiments in K-12 education are free of any tedious public obligation to demonstrate that anybody on the premises is learning anything at all. The more doctrinaire education reform advocates, one senses, would just as soon not know.
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