Florida Public Employees
December 19, 2013
By Bob Sikes – Scathing Purple Musings
Baseball legend Yogi Berra’s yummy pleonasm seems appropriate when it comes to the manner that Charter Schools USA takes advantage of a system they helped game themselves. No for-profit charter school has appealed local school board more rejections than has Jonathan Hage’s CSUSA. Their appeals have always been granted by Hage’s cronies on the state board. Here we go again. From Tama Bay Times reporter Marlene Sokol:
The latest on the quest for a privately run charter school at MacDill Air Force Base: The group that was turned down this month in Hillsborough County is appealing with the state.
Florida Charter Educational Foundation, the nonprofit that wants a school run by Charter Schools USA, says the school district did not have proper grounds to turn down its proposal for a K-8 school serving 875 students.
An answer from the State Board of Education should come in about three months, the foundation said.
“We believe that the application we submitted is solid and the Hillsborough School District ’s denial is completely without merit,” president Ken Haiko said in a written statement. “We are deeply committed to seeing this through to the end. Our military service men and women deserve our unrelenting determination to provide an educational option that makes sense for their families and we are not willing to be deterred by nonsensical political grandstanding.”
The school district, in recommending denial, said the proposal was flawed in that it did not make the school’s governance structure clear.
Charter Schools USA already runs three schools in Hillsborough. One, Woodmont Charter, has an F grade, which was another issue for Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. A spokeswoman for the Fort Lauderdale-based company said they sometimes open schools in disadvantaged communities, and it takes a year or two before they show academic success.
The appearance of CSUSA in a low-income area populated with at-risk kids is a new thing. Their pattern has been to open up buildings in areas they know they can get good test scores to burnish their image. CSUSA’s poor performance in local school is grounds for the denial of the application. Their protestation that their poor school grade is ”in disadvantaged communities” is rich. Few people have benefited from the “no excuses” mantra as has Hage.
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