Team 4: Pittsburgh Public Schools Rejects Charter School Company
Local Group Partners With Imagine Schools To Charter Burgwin Elementary
PITTSBURGH -- A controversial out-of-state charter school company that stands to collect millions in Pittsburgh tax dollars has appealed a rejection by Pittsburgh Public Schools to charter a school in Hazelwood.
Team 4's Jim Parsons reported that the group that applied for the charter is local, but has a partnership with Imagine Schools, a commercial charter school company from Virginia that has drawn criticism from educators.
Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt said Imagine Schools is a for-profit company more interested in making money than educating students.
For that reason, Roosevelt said the school board chose not to have Imagine manage a charter school at the former Burgwin Elementary in Hazelwood.
"What Imagine does through their real estate arm is they kind of sucker people into a relationship that they don't understand the extent of," said Roosevelt.
The appeal for a charter school at Burgwin Elementary includes a budget that would pay Imagine more than $7 million over five years in rent and management fees.
Imagine spokeswoman Sarah Martin is leading a local group appealing the charter denial.
Parsons asked her what the money to Imagine Schools is for.
"That's something to be discussed after we get the charter," Martin told Parsons.
Parsons continued, "But don't taxpayers need to get that answer before you get the charter?"
"I think a better comment for that will be after we get the charter," Martin said.