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

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Imagine in Fort Wayne

Dennis Bakke and his pals at Imagine Schools are looking to get their hands on yet another piece of real estate in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Ralph White, a TaeKwonDo instructor and operator of Parnell Poker Palace (a "charity casino"), signed a contract with the East Allen County Schools in 2006 that allowed him to use one of the district's empty buildings for various purposes, including child care and his TaeKwonDo training.
Now, White wants to turn the property over to Imagine Schools, and, presumably, one of their various for-profit real estate companies. But that messy contract he signed in 2006 is standing in the way, at least for now.
Part of that contract grants EACS first right to purchase the school for $1, although White claims he doesn't remember signing this five year agreement, but he also acknowledges signing it (someone's mighty confused). "It's just a little page that says something about five years," claims White. Now THAT'S the kind of disregard for legality that jives with Bakke and Imagine Schools!
From the Journal Gazette:

Rally for 3rd Imagine school pushes petitioning EACS

Kelly Soderlund
The Journal Gazette

About 50 people attended a rally Saturday to support Imagine Schools opening a third charter school at the former Village Woods Middle School, many of them connected to the movement.

White’s School of the Arts Community Developmental Programs, which occupies the former East Allen County Schools middle school, is garnering support to petition EACS to turn over the building so Imagine Schools Inc. can open a charter school. Thirty of the 50 people in attendance either worked for White’s School of the Arts or Imagine Schools.

Ralph White, who founded the community organization, said he had been given the building, 2700 E. Maple Grove Ave., by East Allen County School in 2006. He said he signed a contract that stated if he wanted to sell the building, the school district must be given the first right to buy it for $1 or refuse it.

White said he originally signed a contract that said the district had first dibs for only three years, but he also admitted signing a document giving East Allen purchasing rights for five years.

White is challenging the five-year concept and said he’s had the building in his possession for almost four years, so East Allen should call it even and relinquish its rights.

“I was so excited during that time, and it’s my fault, but I really didn’t remember signing a five-year deal,” White said. “It’s just a little page that says something about five years.”

Those who attended the rally were given pamphlets about White’s School of the Arts and Imagine Schools and were asked to sign a letter that will be given to the East Allen board. Supporters plan to attend the board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at nearby Village Elementary, but the issue is not on the agenda.

Ultimately, the district board will decide how it wants to handle ownership of the property.

...

Continued here.
And, just for an added dose of insanity, here's a clip from an earlier Journal Gazette article about Mr. White's "charity casino":
White’s School of the Arts Community Development Programs first applied for a casino license but was denied because educational organizations do not fit into categories qualified for charity gambling licenses, said Larry Delaney, the commission’s assistant director. But a separate organization, White’s School of the Arts, did qualify and was granted a license on Dec. 18.
I don't think running a casino qualifies as innovation...

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