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Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:19 PM

Audit shows Florida charter school overcharged state $160,000.

Article here: http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/local-education/audit-claims-mavericks-charter-school-got-nearly-1/nTnc7/

From the article:

A Palm Beach County charter school got nearly $160,000 more in state education money than it was entitled to receive after overstating 2011-12 enrollment, a draft audit released last week by the school district’s inspector general claims.

According to the draft audit from Inspector General Lung Chiu, Mavericks High School in Palm Springs counted and was given funds for at least 56 students who did not attend the school at all during two 11-day “survey periods” last year required by the state Department of Education. The survey periods are used to establish enrollment figures on which the department bases its per-student funding to schools.

Mavericks, a West Palm Beach-based chain of seven Florida charter schools, offers live and online classes and caters to at-risk students. It’s perhaps best known for its president and chief development officer, Frank Biden, brother of Vice President Joe Biden.

An addendum to the article (Mavericks audit report) notes: "A Palm Beach County School District Charter Department employee, who was not identified in the report, had a conflict of interest because her son worked for Mavericks but she was frequently assigned to monitor the school’s compliance with regulations."

Inspector General Chiu's office started investigating Mavericks after a former teacher, Angenora Mechato, filed a lawsuit alleging that she was fired by the charter school after she refused to falsify reports. Two other teachers have filed similar suits. Madfloridian has previously posted about the lawsuit here: http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/8378

Another interesting article on Mavericks (http://blogs.browardpalmbeach.com/pulp/2011/12/mavericks_high_charges_charter_schools_350000_rent_fees.php) exposes the charter schools company's business model. The President of Mavericks is the Vice President's brother, Frank Biden. Concerning Mavericks' operations , Mr. Biden is quoted as saying, "It's all about the buildings we buy. Certainly the operation of the schools isn't profitable."

More from this article:

But most of the time, Mavericks isn't buying buildings --at least, not directly. It's striking deals with private landlords, then charging individual schools rent of $350,000 per year for five years, regardless of the price of the building. That's the case at Mavericks schools in Homestead, North Miami, Kissimmee, and Pinellas. Biden says part of his job is convincing landlords to buy a building, and then lease it to Mavericks at a low cost. Bear in mind, the property owner will not have to pay taxes on the facility, as long as it's used as a public school.

Often, Mavericks locates its schools in poorer neighborhoods where property is cheap. In Homestead, the school building's current market value is $1.2 million, but the school is on the hook for $1.75 million in rent over five years. That sum, combined with its $418,000 management fee, means the Homestead school paid 28 percent of its revenue to Mavericks in Education in 2010.

Mavericks manager Lauren Hollander says the company does not want to be the go-between, collecting rent from the schools, but it's tough for a landlord to "wrap his mind" around a five-year lease.

Mavericks cut out the middle man when negotiating a lease in Fort Lauderdale. Charles Barnett, Mavericks' secretary, bought a building at 424 W. Sunrise Boulevard for $2.2 million. Barnett, a lawyer in Palm Beach Gardens, purchased the building with a newly formed corporation called School Property Development LLC. The manager of the corporation is Charles Berle, who also sits on the board of the Mavericks school in Palm Springs.

Much more on Mavericks here: http://bobsidlethoughtsandmusings.wordpress.com/?s=Mavericks
and another relevant post from Madfloridian: http://journals.democraticunderground.com/madfloridian/8253

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Reply Audit shows Florida charter school overcharged state $160,000. (Original post)
hay rick Jan 2013 OP
madfloridian Jan 2013 #1
elehhhhna Jan 2013 #2
hay rick Jan 2013 #3
elehhhhna Jan 2013 #5
hay rick Jan 2013 #7
hay rick Jan 2013 #4
madfloridian Jan 2013 #6

Response to hay rick (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:30 PM

1. Thanks for that. Been hard to get attention for that school because of the name...

Biden. Mavericks has gotten away with a lot. Purple Musings has done a good job of covering it.

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Response to hay rick (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 09:42 PM

2. hiring a regulator's kid is BRIBERY

colluding to overpay rent is fraud

saying someone won't buy a tax-free bldg that will pay for itsself in 4 years doesn't make it "hard to wrap your head around a 5 year lease. 5 year commerical leases are not bold and revolutionary inventions!

Setting up a school as a vehicle to aviod taxes,skim profits, and overpay rent, executives salaries/expenses, and random hazily-justified "management" fees is sleazy and UNAMERICAN.

Lots of peole have jerk brothers. Including Joe apparently.

Good luck getting Holder or Duncan's attention on this lolol

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Response to elehhhhna (Reply #2)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:01 PM

3. No reflection on Joe.

Recent "jerk brothers": Roger Clinton, Billy Carter. I was going to add Neil Bush but there's no way he could be a bigger jerk than his brother.

The endless sleaze parade of the charter school movement doesn't seem to noticeably discourage the media's affection.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #3)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:37 PM

5. Hey! Neil, Jebbie AND Biden's bro

are all into tax-funded, for-profit children's education

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Response to elehhhhna (Reply #5)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:56 PM

7. Neil too?

GW, Jeb, and Neil...what a pernicious collection of siblings...

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Response to hay rick (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 10:40 PM

4. Mavericks looking like small-time grifters...

Concurrent story from Oregon: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022151751

$17 million. Now that's what I call beating up the kids and taking their lunch money.

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Response to hay rick (Reply #4)

Tue Jan 8, 2013, 12:34 AM

6. That Oregon stuff has been going on for years.

They got 2 million state money even after they messed up the first time.

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