Cincy Enquirier: For-profit charter schools & money don’t mix

But that’s not news to me or many others in Ohio, though I’m sure politicians like Jon Husted and Josh Mandel, who’ve received more than $100,000 between the two of them from charter school operator David Brennan and his White Hat Management’s corporation (run names til heart’s content here –  but “David Brennan” alone has given in the millions over the years to GOP candidates, which you can see for yourself in the records), would disagree with me – they must love how for-profit charters and money mix, right into their campaign coffers, though their Ohio GOP colleague, State Auditor Mary Taylor (love that little CPA after her name – is Rich Cordray going to put his name on his site as “Richard Cordray, ESQ.”? What would the GOP reaction be if Jennifer Brunner added that to the end of her name on the SOS website? oy) in her official capacity, has some reasons to not been a fan of the mixing:

A third of the 41 government agencies declared unauditable by Ohio Auditor Mary Taylor are charter schools. According to Steve Faulkner, the auditor’s spokesman, that’s an improvement.

And Adler points out: “It’s still a relatively new movement or industry. With all the positives they bring with them, often you’ll have educators that may lack the fiscal skills to run a school.”

Is that Brennan’s excuse? He lacks the fiscal skills to run a school? Oh – yeah – he just runs the for-profit operating company. So that entity lacks the skills to…hire people who have the fiscal skills to run a school? Whatever.  He seems to be able to stay out of bankruptcy, not sure why he can’t get his schools to manage themselves.

From the Cincinnati Enquirier today:

By Ohio law, charter schools are nonprofits. But about half the charter schools are managed by for-profit companies which pay the bills and pocket any profits.

For-profit charter school managers took in $291 million in state funds last year, according to an Ohio Education Association study. The biggest charter manager in Ohio, [David Brennan’s] White Hat Management Co. of Akron, received $84 million for its Ohio schools, which include its Life Skills Centers and Riverside Academy in the Cincinnati region. [emphasis added]

The Enquirier piece has a very nice chart on the righthand sidebar with financial info on the state’s charters.

But those numbers aren’t that easy to come by. And in fact, we know that, when asked, for-profit charter executives like Rod Coker of White Hat Management, outright lie about how much money the companies make.

Well, you say, stop being so hard, Jill – they serve kids no one else will serve.

Folks, I worked at Bellefaire JCB for eight years and did my social work field placement in the juvie court diagnostic clinic – I know a few things about kids no one else will serve.

So, if only the assertion that that these for-profits actually “served” all the kids was true:

Ohio has about 332 charter schools serving 82,000 students and spending $608 million in state funds. Two-thirds received low ratings last year in state report cards.

Too bad the Republican-majority statehouse, in August 2005, abolished legislative oversight of charters, eh?  And I haven’t even mentioned Wilson Willard, the charter school operator who “faces sentencing for using school funds on home improvements.”

4 thoughts on “Cincy Enquirier: For-profit charter schools & money don’t mix

  1. Pingback: Balloon Juice » An Odd Ommission

  2. Pingback: UPDATE: Ohio Alliance for Charter Schools Chief: “There’s no accountability” : Writes Like She Talks

  3. Your questions are all rhetorical and loaded so it’s hard to take you seriously but you sound quite unhappy.

    That said, I’ll assume you didn’t follow Taylor’s campaign in 2006 because if you did, you would know the backstory around that CPA and the fact that it has not been on the website for the entire time since 1/07 when she was sworn in.

    What I think about whether people use their degrees or licenses is irrelevant. This post is a commentary postscript to the way Taylor campaigned and the emphasis she placed repeatedly on having those three letters. Nothing more, nothing less.

  4. Jill:
    Soooo you don’t think that a Democratic State Auditor who happened to be the first CPA actually elected to the job would use his/her CPA designation somehow to his/her advantage??? Really? Are you saying that is something only a Republican would do? (Reality is knocking, Jill). And I guess its not worth noting that every Ohio attorney general has been an attorney so its a little thin to say that Rich Cordray, Marc Dann or Jim Petro or any other AG would use the ESQ designation. And if Brunner did so, people might be confused since she’s now SOS and no longer a Judge, so it makes sense that she leaves the ESQ off the SOS designation. Maybe you should THINK for 2 seconds about the partisan nature of what you write before you write it if you want credibility to seep into your blog postings. As for charter schools, reasonable minds can disagree and likley will continue to.

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