Oregon billionaire's charter school empire invades North Carolina

charterpirates.jpg

And Team CFA likes to keep the money in the family:

In fall of 2016 Aristotle Prep -CFA received an F from the state and failed to meet academic growth standards. This year Aristotle Prep – CFA received a D. Last year Aristotle enrollment was 150 students, compared with 550 projected when it received the charter. The Aristotle Prep – CFA and Achievement for All Children contract requires state Board of Education approval. A fundamental problem is that Aristotle’s board did not seek proposals from other management companies. It seems a sweetheart deal for Aristotle Prep-CFA was arranged by a network of TeamCFA members.

In this case, the advisory board requested a three-person panel of state Board of Education members to review the Aristotle Prep -CFA plan. The trio endorsed the plan originally, but conflict of interest concerns moved the full board voted unanimously to defer action and get a ruling from the ethics commission.

That's a pretty sweet deal if you think about it: Screw up the academic status of your school while bilking taxpayers for tuition, which then triggers an "in-house" contract to fix the problem you created. Making money coming and going. Be on the lookout for these charter school pirates sailing into your home town:

There is no listing of the Achievement for All Children’s board of directors. However, the News & Observer who is publishing an investigative series on charter schools and their management, stated:

"The plan that came before the Board of Education this week would allow Tony Helton, who is already a member of the advisory board [state Charter Advisory Board] and CEO of a foundation[Challenge Foundation Academy] that supports Aristotle Preparatory Academy [CFA], to take over management of Aristotle in exchange for 5 percent to 10 percent of Aristotle’s revenue. That would likely come to $70,000 to $140,000, Helton said, depending on whether the school makes the academic gains to earn the 10 percent. The actual amount would depend on enrollment and fund-raising.

The board of Helton’s new management company is made up of [former Rep. Bryan], who was a leading school choice advocate during his four years as a state representative; Allison, who heads Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina; and Phillip Byers, [ Challenge Foundation Properties Board of Directors and Advisors member along with John Bryan, President TeamCFA board member and former appointed sheriff for Rutherford County].

The Board of Education was concerned enough about the unusually tangled web of money and connections that they asked for more time and an expert ruling before they sign off.

We can't expect Republicans to reign in this madness, because anything that erodes our public schools is fine by them. And if somebody makes a big pile of money doing so, they are not crooks, they are "entrepreneurs." Go figure.

Tags: