But no minimum requirement on classroom spending either. From the South Bend Tribune:
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A company hired by the state to take over three Indianapolis public schools says it could lose money in the deal in the first two years even though its contracts don’t set minimums for classroom spending.
Similar contracts cover private operators now running a Gary high school and another Indianapolis school in the first state takeovers of schools that struggled for years with low student test scores, The Indianapolis Star reported Monday.
The state contracts pay each of the operators a set amount per pupil, which will come to more than $30 million per year for the five schools.
Florida-based Charter Schools USA has faced higher-than-expected startup costs and lower enrollment at the Indianapolis schools it is taking over — Howe and Manual high schools and Emma Donnan Middle School, company president Jon Hage said.
“The honest truth is we will probably lose money in these schools the first two years,” Hage said. “If the schools do well academically, they will grow enrollment.”
Indiana State Teachers Association Vice President Teresa Meredith, who has been critical of takeover, fears it creates a built-in incentive to spend the least amount of money possible to maximize profits.
“A child is not a pawn to be used for somebody’s profit,” she said. “It’s crazy to have that kind of incentive.”
The state Department of Education believes that if school performance improves, the profits of the school operator won’t matter, agency spokesman Alex Damron said.
“While the contract does not designate a specific management fee for operation of the schools, the contract does set specific accountability expectations,” Damron said. “Given the academic history of these schools, we believe parents are most concerned about making gains in student achievement that are reflected through those accountability benchmarks.”
Earlier this year, Charter Schools USA made a campaign contribution to Indiana’s controversial education boss, Tony Bennett. Florida voucher advocate John Kirtley made two through his American Federation for Children late last year. In Charter Schools USA’s case, it fair to say that money came from profits earned from their 36 Florida schools. At any rate, it’s another example that demonstrates that political agendas of voucher advocates and big charter schools have merged.
Do Indianans – or Floridians for that matter – even know that there’s no limit on profits to big charter schools while there are no minimums on what they have to spend in the classrooms? Charter Schools USA obviously spends lots of the profits they make on campaign contributions to education policy-makers.