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

Saturday, December 11, 2010

RIMA to Management Org: Goodbye

One less charter school for Seth Andrew/Democracy Prep/Democracy Builders.  From the Providence Journal:
[O]n Thursday, the school’s board of directors severed its relationship with Andrew and his management organization, Democracy Builders, in a dispute over money.

The school will continue, and Andrew has applied to open another, in Providence. What the split means for either side is only beginning to unfold.

Andrew’s spokeswoman said Friday that Andrew was caught off guard by news that the mayoral academies board had voted his organization out. Spokeswoman Kerri Lyon said that Andrew had planned to come to Rhode Island Friday “in good faith” for a mediation session at the state Department of Education between the groups, but canceled the trip when he learned of the split.

The Cumberland school, which opened in 2009, serves about 250 elementary and middle school students from Central Falls, Cumberland, Lincoln and Pawtucket. It has been hailed by supporters, including Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist, as a promising model for the expansion of charter schools focused on boosting achievement for low-income students.

Charters are public schools paid for by taxpayers. However, they are free from much of the bureaucracy of traditional public schools.

In a news release issued Friday morning, Cumberland Mayor Daniel McKee, who chairs the Mayoral Academies board, said the school would operate under the leadership of Jeremy Chiappetta, who has served as the elementary school’s principal.

In an interview, Mayoral Academies spokesman Bill Fischer said the sides were unable to agree to terms after Andrew requested more money to manage the school. Under the terms of the first agreement, Andrew’s organization received 10 percent of the school’s operational budget. For the school’s second year, he was seeking a higher percentage, Fischer said.

“The [school] board did not think the request was reasonable or justifiable,” Fischer said.

Andrew and his management team earned about $120,000 last year to run the school. Andrew’s payment would have increased to at least $200,000 for the current school year — at the 10-percent rate — because of enrollment growth.
In case you're curious, Andrew made $90,000 in 2006, $111,843 in 2007, and $168,883 in 2008 - all from one of his charter schools, Democracy Prep in NY (figures from the 990 tax forms of Democracy Prep in NYC, via guidestar.com).

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