Jan Resseger: Time to Shut Down Unqualified Charter Authorizers in Ohio!

Jan Resseger reports that Ohio charter law allows any non-profit to become a charter authorized, even if they have no education experience and even if they have no geographical proximity to the charters they allegedly oversee. The authorized collects 3% of the charters’ public funding, which can mean millions of dollars a year in found money. It certainly creates an incentive for authorizes to keep charters open and growing.

In the latest episode of a long-running drama called “How Charter Schools Fleece Taxpayers,” Resseger says that the Cleveland activists have called on the Ohio Department of Education to block the St. Aloysius Orphanage fromsponsoring charters in Cleveland. The Orphanage hired a for-profit corporation to manage the charters it sponsors from afar.

“In the news this week is charter school sponsor, St. Aloysius Orphanage—along with Charter School Specialists, the for-profit firm with which St. Aloysius Orphanage has contracted to provide all the services required of charter school sponsors by the Ohio Department of Education. St. Aloysius Orphanage was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1837. It has evolved from a 19th century orphanage into a 21st century mental health agency, which also provides a local Cincinnati charter school for children needing special education services. St. Aloysius Orphanage has also become one of Ohio’s statewide charter school sponsoring agencies….

“There are some other serious problems with the new school planned by St. Aloysius at Orchard Park. Patrick O’Donnell, of the Plain Dealer, has been reporting for several weeks about the for-profit company with which St. Aloysius has contracted to open and manage the school, Cambridge Education Group. Cambridge’s Florida counterpart, Newpoint Education Partners has been indicted in Florida, as has the founder of both companies, Marcus May. O’Donnell explains: “Cambridge Education Group, the operator of 19 Ohio charter schools and of a new school about to open in Cleveland’s West Park neighborhood, is distancing itself from recent fraud and racketeering charges in Florida against founder Marcus May. But details are trickling out about how much that alleged fraud may have spread from Florida to the 19 schools Cambridge operates here in Ohio.

“And Cambridge and its counterpart in Florida, Newpoint Education Partners—a company that is itself under indictment in that state—have had a tight relationship for several years, besides just being founded by May. The school logos in both Ohio and Florida for Cambridge and Newpoint have the same theme…. and the two companies have shared the same officers at times, including Cambridge owner and President John Stack. Stack has not been charged in the case. His name does not appear in court filings against May… Stack said that he was unaware of any of the schemes to defraud schools of money that May is accused of.”

“Charter School Specialists, the for-profit company with which St. Aloysius Orphanage contracts to fulfill its sponsorship responsibilities, is headed by Dave Cash, who is quoted in an additional article by Patrick O’Donnell about the problems at Cambridge-Newpoint, which St. Aloysius intends to hire to run its new Orchard Park charter school: “We have been aware of the legal concerns of Newpoint in Florida and have been in contact with the prosecutor in the case… The boards of each school that utilize Cambridge Education Group have also been monitoring the case and staying abreast of the issues.”

Resseger urges the state to tighten oversight of shoddy and shady charter sponsors.

from novemoore http://ift.tt/2uzHFOn

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