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

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Imagine in FL

Here's a head scratcher: Florida recently gave $300,000 to Imagine Schools at South Vero through a state-funded grant program despite expressing concerns (just months ago!) about the relationship between the charter and the for-profit arm of Imagine.

Imagine tried to add a middle school to this elementary school, but their application was denied by the Indian River County School Board. The company appealed the decision, but the Charter School Appeal Commission agreed there were some major concerns with Imagine's application (and their existing governance structure). One particular concern they raise is the distance between Imagine Schools, Inc (expressly for-profit, with 60,000 shares held presumably by the Bakkes) and the LLCs that hold the charter. The problem is that these LLCs are, as the commission says, "an inappropriate legal entity to file a charter application."
Even the Imagine website (linked above) notes the school is owned by a subsidiary or affiliate of Imagine Schools Non-Profit, Inc. And how close is ISNP to Imagine Schools, Inc? I'd wager they're pretty darn close.

Keep in mind this was from March of 2010.

So what has changed in the last few months? Is there an entity - not an Imagine-controlled LLC - that holds the charter and has the capacity to divorce itself from Imagine if it chose to do so? Or, is the governing body just an extension of Imagine, a lame-duck body acting on behalf of the company?

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