This time on the other Florida coast in Pinellas county. Alli Langley writes in the Tampa Bay Times that the local non-profit group who runs two charter schools will be cutting ties with the for-profit Mavericks management company.
A switch by Mavericks to a new online curriculum at the nine charter schools it runs in Florida triggered the split. Pinellas school officials declared it did not meet state standards.
The local board was shocked, (Pinellas County commissioner and former school board member Susan) Latvala said. “We trusted them,” she said.
Latvala is negotiating the transition with Mavericks chief executive Lauren Hollander, who did not return calls or emails for comment.
But, Latvala said, “it’s in the best interests of the schools to move on.”
My Sunday post here detailed who Maverick’s financial backers are and how they donate to Florida’s republican legislators. Langley explains what went wrong in Pinellas:
When Latvala created the local board for the Mavericks schools, she said, “I was thrilled to be a part of it.” The two Pinellas high schools reported about 850 students enrolled last school year.
Mavericks in Education Florida targets high school students, ages 15 to 21, who have dropped out or been kicked out, teens juggling a baby or a job, young adults who would otherwise be in jail.
Students attend the schools in four-hour blocks and take online courses. The idea is for students to learn at their own pace, Latvala said.
But the change in curriculum seemed focused “on getting kids to earn credits quicker,” she said. The district review found that Mavericks told teachers to reduce assignments and assign grades based on their judgment instead of course completion
“Reduce assignments and assign grades based on their judgment instead of course completion?”No wonder Latvala asserted Maverick’s new online curriculum doesn’t meet state standards. As Langley indicates Maverick’s is instituting the new curriculum for all its schools, other local school boards will be inclined to take a look at their Mavericks. There’s more:
The Mavericks schools are projected to receive more than $2 million of taxpayer money next year. Charter schools receive funding based on enrollment, like traditional public schools, except the district takes 5 percent for administrative services.
Both Mavericks schools have struggled financially. The Largo one has been on a corrective action plan since January after its fund balance was in the negatives for a few months, said Dot Clark, coordinator for the district’s charter schools. School officials are reviewing the St. Pete school’s finances.
Latvala thinks Florida should join a handful of states that ban for-profit management companies from running charter schools.
“A lot of money goes to the for-profit management company,” she said, “and that money should go to the classroom.”
That loud collective choking sound you hear is the state’s rich charter school operators and the political hacks who depend on their cash gagging on their breakfast cereal. Lavala just peed in their Wheaties by proposing an end to for-profit charter school management companies.
Read the rest of Langley’s piece which includes Pinellas charter school data and more particulars on Mavericks.