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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Earmarking $100k for For-Profit Charter

From the NY Daily News:

State Senate President Malcolm Smith steered $100,000 in state funds to a Queens charter school he helped found, the Daily News has learned.

The money was earmarked this budget year for educational programs at Peninsula Preparatory Academy Charter School in Far Rockaway.

Smith was a founder of the school, which was chartered in 2004, and an original board member. His spokesman said he divested ties to the school when he became Senate minority leader in November 2006.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-Queens), a close ally of Smith's, is still listed as a board member.

In 2006 and 2007, Smith received a total of $12,000 in campaign donations from Steven Klinsky, who founded the school's management company, Victory Schools Inc.

Victory has been the school's management company since 2004, according to a company official. The charter school's latest tax documents show it paid $762,322 in management fees.

While there does not appear to be anything illegal about Smith's steering tax money to the school from local assistance funds that he controls, the move raised some eyebrows.

[Cont.]

The folks at Victory couldn't afford to spend the $100k on computers - I mean, they're only pulling in $762,322 in "management fees." That money doesn't go to kids - it goes to Victory's investors and corporate honchos. We're not talking about public education, we're talking about private enterprise (backed up, of course, with public resources).

Good to know the President of the NY State Senate is so dedicated to his pet charter schools and non-public schools. We can thank him for putting the bottom line of the profiteers at Victory, Inc. ahead of the needs of those pesky public school kids.

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