Here's a great way to be your own boss. Be on a government committee that approves charter schools (the Charter School Advisory Board) and then collect management fees from the schools you get to approve. Can you say, conflict of interest?? Evidently the NCGA can't as they have allowed this situation to come to pass.
Lindsay Wagner of NC Policy Watch reports:
South Brunswick Charter School will be operated by the Roger Bacon Academy and will rent property from Coastal Conservancy, LLC. Baker A. Mitchell Jr.—who happens to sit on the Charter School Advisory Board—owns both of those entities.
Mitchell, who currently operates three other public charter schools in the state, paid himself nearly $1.8 million in 2012 for what he characterized as “management fees” to the IRS for running Charter Day School. He has reportedly collected in the neighborhood of $16 million over a five-year period in management fees alone, according to Pruden’s impact statement
All of that money, of course, is taxpayer funds. But Mitchell doesn’t have to explain how, for example, he used $630,696 of taxpayer dollars for staff development, as reported on his 2012 Form 990.
$1.8 mill of our tax dollars have gone into the pocket of one man, Baker A. Mitchell, Jr., instead of into the public classrooms of our state. And that man then turned around and rented facilities from himself for housing those schools. Yet NCGA allotted only $14 per child for textbooks this year. But this one guy gets to approve more charter schools so he will have even more tax dollars for himself! $1.8 mill is a whole lot of text books! Mr. Mitchell cannot claim he deserves this because of 'lower overhead.' Public school superintendents 'manage' many more schools than Mr. Mitchell does and none of them earn that much money. North Carolina doesn't even pay it's governor that much money.
How dare the NCGA show such gross disrespect for our tax dollars. Republicans can never again claim to be the party of fiscal restraint. I call on NCGA to restore full and proper funding to our traditional public schools. If you want charters so badly, give them a dedicated revenue stream. Then make all their financial reports, test scores and minutes of all management meetings easily available on one publicly assessable website. When you come back in May, you damn well better fix this. And make sure it's not happening in other charters as well.