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Madfloridian's Journal
Posted by madfloridian in General Discussion
Tue Apr 12th 2011, 08:03 PM
This started happening a couple of years ago, and it continues with more schools suing their parent company. It appears they refuse to account for how they spend money. Many of the White Hat Schools are failing.

Akronís White Hat gets poor grades for students

Picture from White Hat was established in 1998 by Akron businessman David L. Brennan, who was a key advocate for introducing charter schools in Ohio. Like most charter schools, White Hatís Hope Academies and Life Skills Centers are primarily funded by the state based on the number of pupils they enroll. The contracts between White Hat and the schools now suing allow the company to collect virtually all the funds and use them to run the schools.

Since 2008, Akron-based White Hat Management, has collected around $230 million to run charter schools in Ohio. The company has grown into a national chain and reports that it has about 20,000 students across the country.

But now 10 of its own schools and the state of Ohio are suing, complaining that many White Hat students are failing, and that the company has refused to account for how it has spent the money.

The dispute between White Hat and Ohio, which is unfolding in court in Franklin County, provides a glimpse of a larger trend: the growing role of private management companies in publicly funded charter schools.

In other words, that is public taxpayer money for which they are refusing to account.

How it got started.

When White Hat was establishing some of its first schools, a principal invited James Stubbs, a former NASA electronics technician, to join the board of White Hatís Hope Academy Chapelside.

Stubbs, who sent his three children to Hope Academies and eventually sat on a number of White Hat school boards, said it took several years before some boards began to question why the schools continued to perform poorly. He said that when members started demanding more detailed accounting, the schools and the company began to clash.

One of the scariest parts of this is that White Hat is claiming possession of buildings and furnishings that were paid for with taxpayer money. They refuse to testify before the legislature on the subject.

Ohio White Hat Charter management refuses to testify before state legislature.

The suit charges that White Hat lobbied the state legislature for changes to the charter school law in 2006 that made it possible for White Hat to fire any school board that tries to sever ties with the management company.

Nor is it financially feasible for a charter school to switch operators because White Hat's contracts state that it owns the school's property, furniture and equipment ó even though they were all paid for with tax dollars, according to the complaint.

''Essentially, White Hat created an educational model where tax dollars flow to the private corporation with little room for oversight or control by the schools' governing bodies,'' said a news release accompanying the filing of the lawsuit.

"Further, the law makes White Hat's receipt of tax dollars hard to stop."

White Hat got the legislature to pass a law that allows them to do just about anything they want.

Part of Arne's Race to the Top includes lifting the cap on charter schools so more can be formed. There is a place for choice in schools, but unless there is some guarantee that the choices are all good will ultimately fail.

And the public schools that were once always there for everyone...may have been defunded out of existence.

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