The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

DC Charter Schools “Imagine” Their Way to Profit

May 14, 2012

Three hundred thirty-three DC public school teachers were notified this week that they’ve been “excessed.” Their jobs were eliminated due to budget cuts. That’s on top of the 384 who were laid off in 2011, and 373 in 2010.

Meanwhile, a look at just one DC public charter school gives a clue to where the budget is going.

Imagine Southeast Public Charter School is a not-for-profit institution, at least on paper. In 2011 the school received enrollment-based funding of 6.8 million from the DC government. And it received another half a million in grants from the federal government.

So what did the school do with the money? In 2011 alone, the school turned around and paid nearly two million dollars in various “operating fees” to a private corporation. That corporation is a for-profit, nation-wide, “charter school operator” called Imagine Schools, Inc. – along with its shady real estate subsidiary, Schoolhouse Finance.

And what about the teachers and staff? In other words, the people who actually operate the school? Not one penny of those operating fees went to them! The teachers and staff who operate the school are left to make do with whatever is leftover after the Virginia-based “operating corporation” is paid.

No wonder – in a system like this – teachers themselves are considered as “excess!”