HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Unregulated charter schoo...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:41 AM

Unregulated charter school finances wasting taxpayer money with rampant fraud.

Last edited Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:40 AM - Edit history (1)

One of my objections to charter schools is that they get public taxpayer money, but they do not have to undergo close scrutiny like public schools do.

Another objection is that they make claims to be private when it suits their purpose, like preventing unions from forming. They make claims to be public when they need that extra financing.

All the thousands that go with the student to charter schools are no longer available for the public schools.

These are just the Pennsylvania charter schools with fraudulent finances, there are many from other states as well once investigations are started.

Frontier Virtual High School In Pennsylvania Shuts Down After Failed Years

The online charter school Frontier Virtual Charter High School promised students internship opportunities and language learning when it opened last year.

Yet after the charter school failed this past year to provide students with basic learning tools like computers and Internet, the Pennsylvania Department of Education filed court documents to revoke the charter, Education Week reports. Students were also regularly truant or failing.

.."One Department document read: "Frontier incurred significant expenses and debt that were unrelated to the delivery of services to students of a cyber charter school, including purchases at restaurants, cash withdrawals that were not substantiated with receipts... and local transportation token purchases."

..."During a March investigation into whether the charter school was living up to standards, education department staff were repeatedly denied access to school records and were not permitted to interview school staff, according to a press release on the department website."


There's more:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/dorothy-june-hairston-bro_n_1699765.html

Philadelphia Charter School Mogul, Charged With Defrauding $6.5 Million In Tax Dollars

Philadelphia charter school mogul Dorothy June Hairston Brown was charged Tuesday -- along with four colleagues -- with defrauding three charter schools of more than $6.5 million in tax dollars.

Brown and her executives were indicted on 62 counts of wire fraud, obstruction of justice and witness tampering. She had earned praise for student test scores and had a reputation for claiming large salaries and filing suits against parents who questioned her, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Brown founded three Philadelphia charter schools: the Laboratory, Ad Prima and Planet Abacus. She also had a hand in creating the Agora Cyber Charter School, which offers online lessons to students across the state. Brown was reportedly paid $150,000 for working 30 hours weekly at Laboratory and $115,904 for a single week at Ad Prima.

"Charter schools are funded with public money that is intended to help educate children in our communities," Special Agent in Charge George C. Venizelos of the Philadelphia Division of the FBI said in a statement. "When individuals misappropriate those funds, as this indictment today alleges, they trade our children's education and our children's future for their own illegal profit."


And another:

Nick Trombetta, Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School Founder, Has Office Raided By FBI Agents

FBI agents on Thursday raided the office of Pennsylvania Charter Cyber School founder Nick Trombetta, who is suspected of misusing Pennsylvania tax dollars to fund his out-of-state ventures, KDKA News reports.

The FBI raided the administrative offices of PA Cyber and other ventures founded by Trombetta, including the Avanti Management Group -- a for-profit consultant firm based in Ohio.

The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School, founded in 2000, enrolled more than 11,300 students in the 2011-12 academic year and has an annual budget of more than $100 million. Critics say the $10,000 the school receives for each child far exceeds the cost of educating a student online, and that the excess money has gone to other Trombetta ventures such as the National Network of Digital Schools and the Lincoln Interactive, which develops and markets online curriculum.

These ventures have spawned cyber schools nationwide, and a federal investigation is now underway to determine if Trombetta personally profited.


Let's not leave Florida out of the picture. Several Imagine Charter Schools are being threatened with closing for huge taxpayer debt and very poor grades.

And in July another Florida charter school was shut down, leaving the parents in confusion. Many of them sounded angry during interviews on the news that night. I don't blame them. There's been a lot of manipulation and lying going on.

A.T. Jones Academy officially closed; letter emailed to parents, faculty

CARROLLWOOD - Dozens of teachers and hundreds of families learned Wednesday afternoon they must find new jobs and a new school for their children to attend because A.T. Jones Academy does not have the finances to open its doors this year.

"I want to stay with my friends," sobbed Delana Kruining, 8, who attended the charter school along with her sister Katie, 6.

Hillsborough County Schools sent trucks to the academy to pick up items purchased with taxpayer money.

.."Parents asked where all the school's money went only to be told all their questions would be addressed in an email sent out Monday. No email was ever sent.


Just find myself wondering where these kids would go if public schools keep losing funds to charters and vouchers. We often got students back from those schools which can cherry-pick. We had the job then of building back up some very bruised egos and helping kids get back their self-confidence. They came back to us feeling like failures.

They were not failures, the charter schools were failing them.





31 replies, 2240 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Unregulated charter school finances wasting taxpayer money with rampant fraud. (Original post)
madfloridian Jan 2013 OP
patrice Jan 2013 #1
Angry Dragon Jan 2013 #2
madfloridian Jan 2013 #4
Sunlei Jan 2013 #12
HiPointDem Jan 2013 #3
madfloridian Jan 2013 #5
ReRe Jan 2013 #6
madfloridian Jan 2013 #7
awoke_in_2003 Jan 2013 #8
madfloridian Jan 2013 #21
dem in texas Jan 2013 #9
Sunlei Jan 2013 #10
gtar100 Jan 2013 #11
greymattermom Jan 2013 #13
madfloridian Jan 2013 #23
theaocp Jan 2013 #26
cstanleytech Jan 2013 #14
madfloridian Jan 2013 #19
SunSeeker Jan 2013 #15
secondwind Jan 2013 #16
Sunlei Jan 2013 #17
Coyotl Jan 2013 #18
hay rick Jan 2013 #20
madfloridian Jan 2013 #22
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #27
madfloridian Jan 2013 #28
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #29
madfloridian Jan 2013 #30
Starry Messenger Jan 2013 #31
Recursion Jan 2013 #24
madfloridian Jan 2013 #25

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:51 AM

1. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:52 AM

2. Prison for all of them

freeze all their assests
take their houses



that is the only way they will learn ........... call it schooling the scum

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:12 AM

4. Many people would get jail time for stuff like this.

But the reformers just keep on keeping on with what they are doing, protected by the Dept. of Education and the media.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Angry Dragon (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:50 AM

12. agree! that person who guessed palins email got 3 years federal prison & these scammers get away.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 12:56 AM

3. so many charter school fraud cases, so little time -- and the amounts stolen are getting so large...

 

because charter school regulations leave so much more room to steal than regulations & oversight surrounding real public schools...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to HiPointDem (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:13 AM

5. Yes, the amounts of money stolen are getting larger.

And they just keep getting to do it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:43 AM

6. I read the title of the OP and knew it was you....

K&R

.... madfloridian. Wow...how bad does this have to get before it comes up in Congress and hearings are held? Where's Arne Duncan??????? Who's running the Education Committee? Does the Republican Party even have one of those in the House anymore? Or did they do away with it since the Charter Schools were supposed to solve all the education problems? I bet you this continues to cost us umpteen billions of dollars until the Democrats get the House back. How much you want to bet? Of course the Republicans aren't going to admit what an abysmal failure their fucking idea was, i.e. to privatize education. Meanwhile, the kids are getting the brunt end of this whole deal. I wonder what their Republican parents think about all this? I'll tell you what I think of it:

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to ReRe (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:53 AM

7. Exactly, where's Arne?

Unfortunately both Arne and Obama are urging more charter schools. Yes, there should be hearings.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:17 AM

8. Arne Duncan, appoint by Obama. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to awoke_in_2003 (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:00 PM

21. And serving with him during 2nd term. Will allow privatization to continue.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:24 AM

9. Charter Schools in Texas

There's been lots of fraud and abuse in Texas Charter schools. And the teachers in Charter schools in Texas do not need a college degree, only a HS diploma. The Texas legislature is in session, all geared up and ready to give more funds to charter schools after cutting millions from public school funding the last session.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:44 AM

10. huge fraud with online scams

Here is the google search for "high school diploma online" as you can see plenty of websites where it is FREE for people to take the easy open book 'test' first and pass..then you pay the fee and are guaranteed a diploma. Somehow fraudsters game the vouchers for private school online.

Around here we pay almost the same amount, thousands for property tax and public school tax. It is a horrid feeling to know that tax money could be stolen and no children educated at all.


http://www.google.com/search?q=high+school+diploma+online&rls=com.microsoft:en-us&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&startIndex=&startPage=1&rlz=

These online schools are also scamming our returning military out of their one time grant for education. Another fraud for our federal and state taxpayer money.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:47 AM

11. Jesus H. Christ - do republicans have to fuck everything up?

They cry and whine about wanting charter schools and then they turn around and abuse the money they receive for them. My god, they are so predictable. You know that charter schools might actually work if they really took them seriously and actually tried to educate children - all children. But they can't handle it, can they. They get this idea that government money is free money and spend it so irresponsibly. So predictable.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gtar100 (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:08 AM

13. free stuff from the government

Yep, that's exactly what they want, and they get it too. Much more stuff than a few meals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gtar100 (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:52 PM

23. Actually charter schools are the policy of this administration.

It is their stated policy.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to gtar100 (Reply #11)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:13 PM

26. You think this is a fuck-up?

It's not a bug, it's a feature. This is what is INTENDED. Take money from the public schools and they struggle. Give the money to your corporate buddies and they do whatever the fuck they want with it. Enjoy!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:10 AM

14. I am not arguing in favor of charter schools at all

(in fact I dont trust them as far as I could throw them) but on the other hand I cant help but wonder whats the % difference if any from these cases of fraud say vs when its a public school?
In other words is there less, equal or greater cases of fraud in public schools?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to cstanleytech (Reply #14)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:37 AM

19. I doubt you would find that much rampant fraud in regulated public schools.

I have heard of the occasional money problem. But it's hard to get that obvious when you are run and regulated by a local district.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:12 AM

15. K&R

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:43 AM

16. Five charter schools in AZ are owned by one woman... teachers have to clean the

bathrooms themselves. They buy their own supplies, etc..

It's a business, like anything else. The Walton Family is going to "run" over 30 charter schools in California... these people are like a cancer on our country.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to secondwind (Reply #16)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 09:48 AM

17. The for profit prisons did the same thing. lied there would be jobs for locals, instead..

the prisoners do all the cleaning, cooking, general labor everything except head guards. They pay them $1.00 and charge a fee to prisoners for things like toilet paper, decent food, shampoo, phone use so the prisoners have to spend their $1.00 back to the for profit prison.

These private for profit schools and prisons are raking in all the state and federal taxpayer money. That's the reason some states are broke now..some signed 30 year contracts with these profiteers.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:06 AM

18. This can only lead to one thing, first grade in a Wal*Mart between tires and garden supplies

When education is all about business and profits, why not hold school in a mall?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:39 AM

20. Enabling.

A couple of popular memes enable these fraudulent schemes.

Oversight is just big government. Professional administrators are costly frills that nobody needs.

"Choice" promotes quality. If we take resources from public schools to also fund separate private schools, the proliferation of choices will promote competition and quality. Sadly, the same meme helps support the dazzling array of American health care plans. We have plenty of choices- they just all happen to be bad.

Education should build character. Religion should be an integral part of character-building, so why not teach it in schools? If you develop character you can acquire skills on your own- in front of a computer monitor. Professional teachers may be qualified to teach "subjects", but that kind of learning is incidental to a real education.

These memes enable a whole bunch of snake oil salesmen.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hay rick (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:39 PM

22. "Choice" is the propaganda word.

Are the words "school choice" public code words for the movement to privatize public education?

From Frank Luntz a warning not to use choice...

"The GOP language strategist, Frank Luntz, warns about using the words "school choice", and tells the GOP what words to use.

13. School Choice - Parental Choice/Equal Opportunity in Education

NEVER SAY: School Choice
INSTEAD SAY: Parental Choice/Equal Opportunity in Education

Americans are still evenly split over whether they support "school choice" in America’s schools. But they are heavily in favor of "giving parents the right to choose the schools that are right for their children," and there is almost universal support for "equal opportunity in education." So frame the issue right and you get the support you need.

Luntz 2006: 14 Words Never to Use"

Actually the reformers are doing quite well using the word "choice".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hay rick (Reply #20)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:32 PM

27. This.

And what choices will there really be when charters suck all the money out of the public system and it dies? Charter proponents are explicit that their endgame is to totally replace public schools with free market "stores" where education is a commodity.

http://www.edexcellence.net/commentary/education-gadfly-daily/flypaper/2012/chartering-the-future.html



The traditional urban public school system is broken, and it cannot be fixed.

It must be replaced.

Given urban districts’ unblemished record of failure over generations, you’d think these statements would be widely accepted and represent the core of the education-reform strategy. But somehow, just about everyone working in this area assumes that the traditional school district is essential and immortal—that because of its age and standing, it must be the focus of reform. Few recognize the anachronism of a model created by historical circumstances—mass immigration, industrialization, and Progressive Era-idealism—rather than today’s social realities and educational priorities.

<snip>

First, we must see chartering not as a sector and not even as a system but as the system for urban education’s future. The systemic practices it has introduced into public education must be the playbook for how urban school portfolios are managed. Second, we must accept that the full flourishing of this new system requires the permanent demotion and the potential cessation of the district.



Conservative education "reformers" want to deregulate the schools, the way the airlines were deregulated in the 70's, and have the DOE just be an oversight office like the FAA.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #27)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:43 PM

28. Thanks for the link.

Andy Smarick, why does that name sound so familiar.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Reply #28)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 04:03 PM

29. I've written about him before, he drives me nuts.

I think he's also Christie's Deputy SOE but don't quote me on that. Smarick wrote his blueprint for destroying education back in 2008.

http://educationnext.org/wave-of-the-future/

He really says the thing about the FAA, like children are just like airline ticket customers.



<snip>

Charter advocates should strive to have every urban public school be a charter. That is, each school should have significant control over its curriculum, methods, budget, staff, and calendar. Each school should have a contract that spells out its mission and measurable objectives, including guaranteeing that all students achieve proficiency in basic skills. Each school should be held accountable by an approved public body.

<snip>

So, while the government’s role would still be significant, it would no longer operate the city’s entire portfolio of public schools. Instead, it would take on a role similar to the FAA’s role in monitoring the airline industry or a health department’s monitoring of restaurants. Today, we take airline safety for granted and make our choices based on service, connections, and so on. Similarly, we know all restaurants have fire exits and meet food safety standards, so we choose based on our tastes and schedules. A well-regulated chartered school system could guarantee that all public schools were providing a safe, high-quality education and properly managing operations, thereby allowing families to choose a school based on other criteria.

<snip>

No government entity likes to lose control of any of its components and the budget and prestige that go with them, especially when the loss suggests a failure by the organization. But shifting from an operator into an authorizer would mean cutting hundreds of central office jobs as well: since charters handle their own transportation, facilities, staffing, and more, district employees filling those responsibilities would become redundant. Such a shift, then, would be vigorously opposed by district staff and those who represent them. Countless powerful organizations, like unions, book publishers, and service providers, would also be adversely affected by a decentralized system of schools.

<snip>

Here, in short, is one roadmap for chartering’s way forward: First, commit to drastically increasing the charter market share in a few select communities until it is the dominant system and the district is reduced to a secondary provider. The target should be 75 percent. Second, choose the target communities wisely. Each should begin with a solid charter base (at least 5 percent market share), a policy environment that will enable growth (fair funding, nondistrict authorizers, and no legislated caps), and a favorable political environment (friendly elected officials and editorial boards, a positive experience with charters to date, and unorganized opposition). For example, in New York a concerted effort could be made to site in Albany or Buffalo a large percentage of the 100 new charters allowed under the raised cap. Other potentially fertile districts include Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oakland, and Washington, D.C.



He explicitly lays out how to starve out and destroy public education. And also how to manipulate the policy environment to create a "charter friendly" business climate that will ease the path. This article is from 2008, but I see many of the things that he laid out coming to fruition now. This has always been the plan.

Will the massive (and predictable) theft and waste from this scam ever turn public opinion around against charters?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Starry Messenger (Reply #29)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:25 PM

30. He's so open about it, so arrogant. Nervy.

Now you have me started on looking up stuff about him. Glad you posted that link.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Reply #30)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:44 PM

31. I hope you do an entry on him some day.

I know, it is so open! It's why I get so angry when people say that charters are "public schools", have no agenda, etc. There are people who are very open about their intentions about replacing the public system with a for-profit network.

How can this be about school choice when charter advocates are allowing corporations in to take away a public choice? Corporations tend to lead to monopolies anyway, so it will be soon when school "choice" means you get to pick between Walmart and Time-Warner as the school manager...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 02:55 PM

24. I was suckered by the charter school idea

And I still think there are a few places that do it right (Virginia comes to mind: there are four in the state and they really are all "laboratories"). But all told, the idea as a whole is just a scam.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Recursion (Reply #24)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:06 PM

25. I think the idea behind them had merit.

Trouble is that public education is a huge field that wasn't yet for profit.....and once the corporate raiders moved in the goals changed. From being in the best interest of the students, it changed to the best interests of the charter management companies.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread