The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Washington, D.C.:
Charter Schools and Banks

Jun 4, 2012

Washington, D.C.’s former chairman of the Public Charter School Board announced that the net profit for all the charter schools together in 2009 was 24 million dollars, or 5.4% of revenue. That’s $800 profit per student, per year!

Why would he care about profit? Because he is also a president of United Bank. The total debt of the charter schools, more than 350 million dollars, is mostly loans for buying and rebuilding schools–from banks like his–at interest rates which peaked at 9% in 2009. He told bankers, “The loans give me my largest margins and they are the most profitable piece of my portfolio.”

D.C. currently pays charter schools a cash “facilities allotment” of $3,200 per student per year, on top of other funding. The charters pass that money straight to the banks and developers–some charters pay more than a million dollars a year rent. “They are using public money to finance private real estate development,” a community activist said. In 2008 the Washington Post found conflicts of interest in almost 200 million dollars worth of charter school business deals.

Still, a report found charter schools have only one half or one third as much space per student as in the already overcrowded public schools. Many don’t have a gym, library, art room, cafeteria, nurse’s room, or outdoor field.

Of course–the financial and development vultures set up these schools only to satisfy their hunger for ever more profit!