"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Getting Rich in the Non-Profit Charter Business

Now that the advocates for unrestrained greed have bankrupted the country, they have their eye on the three-quarters of a trillion dollars that Americans spend on education every year as they try to stay one step ahead of the thieves who own us. That's right--the Bloombergs and their fawning parasites aim to convert the schools to non-profits, control what is taught, control how it is taught, and make themselves wealthy while cutting teacher pay and benefits.

And if state law gets in the way, just do what Mayor Gradgrind does: ignore it.

HT to Mike Klonsky. From the New York Daily News:

Friday, February 27th 2009, 12:32 AM

Eva Moskowitz, the former City Council member who founded a small chain of nonprofit charter schools, is a passionate and abrasive champion of the charter school movement.

She's also making a bundle.

Moskowitz, who makes no secret of her desire to create 40 charter schools across the city and run for mayor some day, raked in $371,000 in salaries in the 2006-2007 school year from organizations connected to her four schools, tax records show.

Those schools, Harlem Success Academy 1, 2, 3 and 4, have an enrollment of about 1,000 pupils, from kindergarten to third grade.

The nonprofit organizations connected to the schools have yet to file more recent tax returns, but Moskowitz said in an interview late Thursday she received $310,000 last year - the 2007-2008 year - $250,000 in salary and $60,000 in a bonus.

That means Moskowitz, who is responsible for four schools, makes more than Chancellor Joel Klein, who gets $250,000 to run 1,400 schools.

In 2006-2007, she even surpassed John Ryan, the former chancellor of the State University of New York, who earned $340,000 to manage some 70 campuses with nearly 300,000 students.

Needless to say, she left your run-of-the-mill public school principal, with an average annual salary of $124,000, in the dust.

Tax records show in her first year of operation Moskowitz made $85,000 as executive director of Harlem Success Academy, the group that receives DOE money to operate the charter schools.

At the same time, she received $186,000 as chief executive officer of the Success Charter Network, a separate nonprofit that provides "management services" to her schools.

Finally, she received $100,000 as an "independent contractor" for Friends of Gotham Charter School, which provides support finances for Harlem Success.

All three organizations share an address and list as officers Joel Greenblatt and John Petry, the millionaire hedge fund managers who bankrolled the Success Charter Network.

Moskowitz said her unusually high pay for 2006-2007, included compensation for months of planning work from the previous year.

"Yes, I earn a good living," Moskowitz said. "I also have an enormous responsibility to try and design 40 schools that are immensely successful. If your child walks into my school, I treat them like my child."

Charter schools are free to use the money they raise from outside sources any way they see fit - even if that means huge salaries for the chief executive.

Given that Moskowitz routinely complains that the Department of Education has failed to provide a fair share of funding for her students, it's fair to ask why she's paying herself so much for educating so few. Charters get about 90% of what it costs to teach each child and raise funds for additional money.

Parents from Moskowitz's schools vehemently defend the Harlem Success Academy and say their kids are making phenomenal progress. That could very well be true, but the DOE has not posted independent test results for any of the Moskowitz schools.

Her critics, who include educators, parents, the teachers' union and Harlem political leaders, say she is a relentless self-promoter.

They say she is not shy about packing public meetings with a parent group she has organized, and then demanding that other public schools give up their space to make way for her programs.

"We had one meeting in East Harlem last year where she bused in her [students'] parents, and the situation got ugly and tense as they kept demanding space in our school," said one East Harlem community leader.

This week, more than 500 parents from the Harlem Success Academy were bused to a hearing at Public School 241 in West Harlem, a school the DOE wants to phase out and turn over to Moskowitz.

"We're unwilling to accept failure," Moskowitz said. "PS 241 has failed for years on end, and it needs to change."

Parents who send their children to 241, along with the local Community Education Council, say the DOE is violating the law by eliminating a zoned public school and replacing it with a charter.

jgonzalez@nydailynews.com

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