The Thin Line Between Charter Schools USA and Florida Law

This week’s hilarious story that Charter Schools USA CEO Jonathan Hage owns a yacht called Fishin’ 4 Schools  overshadows what may be some major wrongdoing on the part of Hage. In a column that appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, Hillsborough League of Women Voters president, Shirley Arcuri revealed this little tidbit:

Another area where the distinction between public and private is blurred for the benefit of for-profits is in the issuing of bonds. Although Florida law prohibits charter schools from issuing bonds, Charter School USA has found a way.

When naming Jon Hage, CEO of Charter USA, as Floridian of the Year, Florida Trend in December 2012 contended that Charter School USA is the largest seller of charter school debt in the country. “It will sell $100 million worth of bonds this year, Hage says. … The bonds come with tax-exempt status because they are technically held by the nonprofit founding boards that oversee the schools.”

Hage is being modest. Over a three-year period, the amount is closer to $200 million.

Nice boat, Jon. And Rick Scott says thanks, Bro, for that $50,000.

You can be sure that Hage has all the tricky law stuff worked out. Like most so called “education reformers” who’ve gotten rich off taxpayer money intended for public schools he can give a pretty good lecture on what “the law” says

The combination of Hage’s non-profit facilities, his Red Apple Development corporation and his management company continue to keep him pretty cashed up and can afford cool yachts with a thumb-your-nose at everybody name. And it allows him to give lots of money to governors, now disgraced education commissioners and legislators who write legislation which support his lifestyle.





About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to The Thin Line Between Charter Schools USA and Florida Law

  1. Gronda Morin says:

    I would like Florida to consider having the success charter schools present in New York being part of the public school system as in New York City. I am one of those who is strongly opposed to the NY Mayor attempts to weaken this program. These charter schools accept students from impoverished areas. There is so much demand that acceptance is done via a lottery. Their success record is so outstanding as reflected in any testing results surpassing even exclusive type schools. In New York, the mayor has received a huge backlash from both the left and the right. I am a firm believer in competition in the marketplace of ideas. If I was running New York, I would be expanding the success charter school system. If the normal school system cannot compete, then I would place any child’s welfare above any entrenched system.

  2. Pingback: The Thin Line Between Charter Schools and Florida Law | LWVeducation

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