If most of us committed fraud to the tune of $12,000, we'd be worried about a court date or pending arrest.
Arizona voters - why do you keep endorsing this behavior?
Josue Saldivar - I am sorry to read about your loss, and ours. The world needs more kindness these days. Blessings to Mr. Salvidar and to your family.
The two comments above illustrate
A) Why Arizona voters keep electing the same 'leadership'
B) Why said leadership barely bothers to cover up scandal and this kind of spin anymore
"Yeah, but...." is no way to engage in participatory democracy and promote good governance.
It would be refreshing to see fellow Arizona conservatives take a conservative, measured approach and actually start holding Republican state officials accountable for a change. It is possible to do that and still be mad at Obama/Democrats/whoever at the same time. Governor Ducey's email about JTED speaks volumes about how much he thinks his core constituents are paying attention.
I know it's easy and even enjoyable sometimes to hum along to the current popular ideology in the state. No taxes sounds awesome.
However. Wouldn't it be a good idea - some might call it a conservative approach - to actually pause to examine the costs we have incurred from the tax cuts so far? And shouldn't we be looking at other communities who have privatized services and enacted similar stark tax reductions to see how things turned out?
From a business perspective, I wouldn't just lay off half the staff one year because I thought payroll was too high and knew that I'd profit more in the short term. Things tend to go poorly when long-term consequences aren't considered.
While I understand the sentiment in the posts above, I would hope that the folks keening for more and more and more of the same dose of E-Z government slash & burn we have seen in the past decade will at least consider taking a time out to do a little research. And please do update me if you find an example where our current formula has worked in other places...because I have yet to find evidence that makes me optimistic.
Ms. Pedersen is right to be concerned. It takes only a 20-second Google search to see how public money has been lost to charter school real estate schemes and related "Crony capitalism" (a quote from pro-charter Fordham President Michael Petrilli - see Ohio article below).
While obviously not every charter school group engages in this type of practice, it isn't a rare occurrence either. And what type of oversight is there to ensure this practice won't expand further in Arizona? More than a few local charter schools have already formed private 'holding' groups inside of their initial 501(c)3 non-profits so the public can't see how - and where - their money is being spent.
A few recent CHARTER SCHOOL REAL ESTATE SPECULATION HEADLINES:
MISSOURI - Imagine schools' real estate deals fuel company growth (10/30/2011) -
"When students first entered Imagine Academy...four years ago, their school was already entangled in a complex series of real estate deals - ones that would divert dollars from their education. By the time they were on their first summer break, their brown brick building...had been sold three times, the final price nearly 10 times higher than the first. In the process, the company running the school - along with a small group of other players - cashed in.
Imagine Schools Inc., the nation's largest charter school operator, runs six charter schools in St. Louis. Together, their performance on state standardized exams is worse than any school district in Missouri. Nevertheless, those schools are generating millions of dollars for Imagine and a Kansas City-based real estate investment company through real estate arrangements ultimately supported with public education money.
LOUISIANA - New Orleans charter school sold stripped copper for cash (2/7/2015) -
A New Orleans charter admitted to stripping copper components from the heating and air conditioning systems to sell for cash. The charter is leasing the building from the Recovery (public) School District.
OHIO -- Charter School's Lease Deals Scrutinized (10/12/2014) -
Imagine schools charged one of their own schools 81% of state aid (tax dollars) budget just for rent in the building they owned. The charter chain is under investigation "in at least three states and Washington DC" - and one state already shut them down. See also -
OHIO - Ohio charter school companies amass tax-free real estate portfolios (9/20/2014)
MICHIGAN -- Public money for schools buys private property (12/14/2014) -
Charter chain 'sweeps' $228 million in state tax dollars into private accounts - asserts private ownership of all school property purchased with public funds. A consultant for a school reform group notes: "...This industry of real estate speculators, wheeler-dealers who use the system to make a fast buck, has grown up so fast that it's overtaken the capacity of current oversight agencies."
National/FORBES - Charter School Gravy Train Runs Express to Fat City (9/10/2013) -
An article that runs the gamut: sweetheart, no-bid deals and big donations to politicians in return for more tax money (with less oversight), generous tax credits and a quick-pass to buy immigration visas in return for charter school 'investment', and huge payouts for charter heads ($5 million/year in 2011 for the K-12 chief who gets paid based on enrollment - not performance).
FLORIDA - Charter schools making big profits for private companies (8/22/2014) -
Just one Florida company - Charter Schools USA - has spent almost $2 million (tax dollars!) lobbying the state legislature alone. Accordingly, there hasn't been much state attention to the fact that Charter Schools USA is charging it's own schools about 23% of their budget just for rent each year -- a much more lucrative scheme than just relying on the initial school management fees.
PENNSYLVANIA - Investigating Charter Schools Fraud in Philadelphia (6/27/2011) -
"19 of the 74 charter schools operating in the city are under investigation for fraud, financial mismanagement and conflicts of interest.
At one school...parents raised concerns in 2008 after school administrators told them that there was no money available for special education students....Ultimately, both the founding CEO of Philadelphia Academy Charter School and his successor were charged with stealing almost $1 million from the school's coffers...The two men also allegedly engaged in questionable real estate deals. As a result, the high school paid rent money for its facilities directly to them. "They charged really high rental rates for the school to use the building and then they accumulated money through higher interest rates", she says. "They were using taxpayer obey that was supposed to go to the school for other purposes."...
Tucson Unified's FY 2015 budget projects that Special Education services will cost just over $48 million for the year. Take away ALL special education funding + all school transportation ($13 million/year), and you'd still have to find another $4 million to cut if Mr. Hicks has his way.
Rock on, Jim Nintzel! Well deserved.
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