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

Monday, March 01, 2010

Imagine Schools in Financial Trouble

The Imagine Schools are in trouble again, this time for a "financial emergency" in Manatee County, Florida. From the Herald Tribune:

Two popular Imagine charter schools in Manatee County incurred debts of nearly $900,000 and have been declared in a state of "financial emergency" by the school district.

An audit of Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch revealed debts of about $600,000 at the end of its first year.

Most of that is owed to its parent company, Imagine Schools, a Virginia-based school management company that runs 74 charter schools in 12 states.

The Imagine School North Manatee's debts were about $300,000 as at June 30, most of that also owed to Imagine Schools.

The debt is unlikely to lead to the closure of either school, but it does mean taxpayer money will be used by the schools to pay debts to their parent company that could include as much as $350,000 in interest.

Those are tax dollars at work paying $350,000 in interest - and working their way right into the bank accounts of the Imagine crooks. Dennis Bakke likes to rail against the "government-run monopoly" of public education, but the his operation is far less efficient than traditional public schools. Bakke, of course, prefers the privatized version of public schools, particularly when they are a potential profit source for his education empire.

Florida - a hotbed of education stupidity - still hasn't figured out how to regulate their charter schools and prevent financial shenanigans from damaging the education of children. Nothing in the above story is really groundbreaking for either Imagine or Florida. Back in 2005, Imagine-operated charters in the state were $8.3 million in debt. Some things never change - but they should.

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