So Charter Schools USA is back in trying to bag a facility on MacDill AFB. In spite of lots of showboating and aggrieved hand wringing by CSUSA mouthpieces, Hillsborough school district rejected their application because it wasn’t clear if local folks would make up the controlling board. They’ve taken care of that this time, but CSUSA may have been a little too cute in their application by including “survey data.” Tampa Tribune reporter Erin Kourkounis, who has been covering the story from the start explains:
(CSUSA’s local attorney Stephen) Mitchell said 90 percent of the 400-plus military families who responded to a MacDill survey said they want a charter school on base, Mitchell said.
According to the charter application, many military families who live off base are interested in sending their children to school at Tinker but it is at capacity. The K-8 charter would serve nearly 900 students.
Its not clear whether or not Mitchell and CSUSA revealed their survey methodology. The numbers are so slanted toward supporting the CSUSA application that it was likely a push poll designed to get the responses they want. Will Hillsborough ask them?
Mitchell is also serves as chairman and president of MacDill Charter Academy LLC. With CSUSA maintaining what’s sure to be a generous management fee, a local board filled with cronies serves as a rubber stamp and will take on characteristics of other CSUSA local boards – like those in Louisiana – which utilize CSUSA website templates.
The whole MacDill AFB-Charter Schools USA deal reeks of cronyism. Tampa Bay Times reporter Marlene Sokul reported in February that Florida governor “Rick Scott – or someone close to him” recommended that CSUSA run the MacDill AFB facility. CSUSA boss Jonathan Hage has donated more than $100,000 to Scott’s Let’s Get to Work fund and the state republican party.