Charter Schools USA Jonathan Hage - Sails Into Lafayette Parish!

Lafayette charter school fiasco.  Supt. Pat Cooper promoted new charters in his district against the wishes (and vote) of his school board employer.  Here is some information on the management company behind those charters and why the taxpayers of Lafayette Parish can expect to be fleeced.

Charter Schools USA:

Your tax dollars at work - as long as they are supplemented with corporate investments and government grants (oops! That's the same as your tax money.) 

How does he do it?

Charter Schools USA Lands Third Multi-Million Dollar Loan Since 2010

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Ziegler, a specialty investment banking firm, is pleased to announce the successful closing of a $59,320,000 Series 2012 Bond issue for Renaissance Charter School, Inc. (Renaissance). This 2012 financing is the third for the borrower which includes a Series 2011 $89,235,000 issue and a Series 2010 $68,200,000 issue.
Renaissance) is a Florida 501(c)(3) that holds charters for 20 operating charter schools that enrolled over 14,000 students in fall 2012. This includes six schools that opened in fall 2012, including the four schools included in the Series 2012 bond financing. All schools are managed by Charter Schools USA (CSUSA), an Education Management Organization based in Ft. Lauderdale.
The current 2012 financing will fund acquisition and refinancing of four charter school facilities, including one in Tallahassee, two in the Orlando metropolitan area, and one in West Palm Beach. Two of the facilities were purpose built for the schools, with two others being existing facilities that were completely retrofitted for use by the schools. All of the facilities are completed and occupied. All four of the schools opened in fall 2012, with each meeting its enrollment goals and maintaining a waitlist.
Without commenting and engaging in jihad over for-profit charter schools, its most important to point out that the confidence from the financier in Charter Schools USA comes from the amount of money it receives from taxpayers.  CSUSA’s CEO Jonathan Hage was on Rick Scott’s education transition teams and maintains a close relationship with Jeb Bush’s foundation and has provided funding. Hage also donates heavily to state republican legislators.  While Hage’s charter schools routinely earn high grades, the secret to their success is in a focus on test preparation.

How the Koch Brothers and Charter Schools USA Filter Campaign Cash to Florida’s Republican Legislators

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A remarkable story from Miami Herald reporter Mary Ellen Klas was published last night which traced the money trail that fuels the candidacies of state republican legislators. Legal under campaign financing laws, the Republican Party of Florida takes in donations and passes it on to PACs belonging to the incoming leaders of both legislative bodies – Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) in the House and Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) in the Senate. Here’s Klas’ summary:
Here’s how the money breaks down:
Leadership money in legislative races:
Sen. Don Gaetz — $3.6 million raised
* $2.6 million — raised by the Republican Party of Florida, $2.6 million transferred to Gaetz’s committee, Florida Conservative Majority
* $3.5 million — raised by the Florida Conservative Majority, $2.2 million transferred to Gaetz’s Liberty Foundation of Florida
* $2.3 million — raised by Liberty Foundation of Florida
Rep. Will Weatherford — $3.8 million raised
* $2.5 million — raised by the Republican Party of Florida and spent on House races or political committees controlled by House members
* $1.3 million — raised by Weatherford’s Committee for a Conservative House
* $30,000 — raised by Weatherford’s committee, Citizens for Conservative Leadership
Source: Florida Division of Elections
This blog’s theme revolves around the intersection between education policy and politics with special attention to what’s happening in Florida. Its not a secret that the republican party has a strangle hold on power in Tallahassee. Its education agenda is no longer a secret. Lets look at two entities who stand out in the money its sent to the RPOF to be filtered to selected candidates.
No more hated figure exists in the minds of democrats and liberal groups than do the Koch brothers. Their legislative arm, ALEC is responsible for driving and writing several divisive pieces of legislation in Florida, including those on prison privatization, parent trigger, union dues and state worker pensions. Koch Industries gave $40,000 to the RPOF in separate $20,000 amounts in January this year money, money which eventually went to the PACs of the house leaders in Tallahassee
Charter Schools USA has 36 schools in Florida and will be opening more. Its CEO Jonathan Hage is well-connected, and was a member of Rick Scott’s education transition team. He’s closely associated to former governor Jeb Bush as former director of one of his foundations. Hage’s Charter Schools USA gave two separate donations to the RPOF on the same day in January totalling $52,700. The for-profit charter school company gets its money from taxpayer dollars.
The realities of who wields the power and why in determining education policy may be of interests to Floridians. Especially now that the test-based accountability system  that was set up to benefit guys like Hage and the Koch brothers has become a political hot potato – even for members of the party they want to support.

By: Sharon Aron Baron
Picture this: the superintendent of your public school system makes so much money that he’s tooling around in his own 43-foot yacht on the weekends.
Hard to believe, right?
A public school superintendent has to report to his board of directors, the school board, who would think twice about paying lavish sums of money on the taxpayer’s dime. However, if you’re the founder of Charter Schools USA, no one bats an eyelash.
Charter Schools USA founder Jonathan Hage and his first mate Edward Pozzuoli, attorney for Charter Schools USA who is also president of the law firm Tripp Scott, have registered a yacht under the name of “Fishin’ 4 Schools” as well as formed an LLC under the same name.
Hage and Pozzuoli's yacht in back of Hage's Coral Ridge Country Club home in Fort Lauderdale.
Hage and Pozzuoli’s yacht in back of Hage’s Coral Ridge Country Club home in Fort Lauderdale.
This begs the question: What other assets do they own that are hidden under aliases?
Charter schools are public schools that receive state tax dollars, but function with their own boards of directors and enjoy substantial independence from state and local regulations. Charter Schools USA is a for-profit company which operates 58 schools in several states, including Florida, for a combined 48,000 students, however, both Hage and Pozzuoli send their children to Pine Crest Schools – a private school located in Fort Lauderdale.
There are big dollars in those students numbers. If Hage and Pozzuoli make $100 off each of those 48,000 students, that would be a $4.8 million dollar annual payday.
Too bad Charter Schools USA isn’t Fishin 4 Schools in the areas of town that really need school choice. They’re sinking these babies in middle class neighborhoods with established A-rated public schools to snag some of the brightest students.
Let’s go Fishin’ 4 Schools with Charter Schools USA!
Catch some fish sticks and cook them up in the full galley complete with corian countertops, two burner cook tops, sink and a refrigerator freezer.
After a day out at sea relax in the solid teak floored salon watching your Samsung 15” LCD TV, or listen to the Bose Stereo system and relax in the four-person ultra-leather sofa seats.
Wait, there’s more!
Just in case you want to stay overnight in Bimini or the Bahamas, there is a Master Stateroom and Bathroom on board and room for others to sleep as well.
But sadly, all good things must come to an end. Hage and Pozzuoli have listed their yacht for sale for $349,500, a brokerage company that is geared for Russian buyers. This would net them 12,281,030.76 Russian Rubles!
So keep your eyes peeled. Maybe we’ll be seeing an installation of Fishin 4 Schools 2 parked in Hage’s backyard.
click to make larger

Fishin’ 4 Schools

The CEO of Charter Schools USA puts his yacht, Fishin’ 4 Schools, up 4 sale
yachtsmanHave you ever encountered a story so sadly tragic that you were forced to break your own rule regarding pre-noon winebox decanting?  I have… Hankies at the ready, reader, for we are *going there.* I’m talking about the super sad true tale of Charter Schools USA founder and CEO Jonathan Hage and his wrenching decision to part with his yacht: the aptly named Fishin’ 4 Schools. In other words, onto every teak deck a little salt water must spray. It’s time to don your stripes, reader; we’re goin’ fishin’.
Gone Fishin’
Our story starts in a locale from which so much excellence and achievement springs these days: Florida, USA. That’s where Hage, who runs one of the country’s largest networks of for-profit charter schools, and his attorney/first mate, Edward Pozuolli Esq., registered their yacht, Fishin’ 4 Schools, along with an LLC of the same name. (Major shout out to Coral Springs columnist *Sharon Aron Baron* for dragging this story out into the Florida sunshine.)
The Fishin' 4 Schools, now 4 sale 4 $350K.
The Fishin’ 4 Schools, now 4 sale 4 $350K.
Double or nothin’
Now as you no doubt recall from your own summer idylls floating off of the French Riviera, *Fishin’ 4 Schools* belongs to a figure of speech that the French know fondly as le double entendre meaning that it means two things at once. Hage and Pozuolli’s handsome vessel is literally fishin’ for schools of fish unlucky enough to be lingering in the depths off of Florida’s Gold Coast. But the fast-growingcharter chain is also fishin’ for schools. Charter Schools USA currently operates 58 schools in 7 states and has ambitious plans to reel in many more in the coming years. And both kinds of fishin’ involve *chartering*—or for our purposes, *charterin’.*
charteringDoing gr8 by doing good
Speaking of schools, Hage and Pozuolli belong to one that I think of fondly as the *Doing Gr8 by Doing Good* school. In their fiercely urgent drive to bring outstandingness, excellence and achievement to Florida’s little ones, the two men are also doing, ahem, rather well by themselves. Just how well? Consider Charter Schools USA’s recent fishin’ trips for the financing needed for the company’s aggressive expansion plans; since 2010 Hage et al have hauled in more than $200 million in financing. And as the excellent Florida blogger Bob Sikes documents on his Scathing Purple Musings, all that bank has enabled the company and its captain to do things like run TV advertisements for one of their charters, while conveniently forgetting to mention its *F* grade. And don’t forget all the love that Hage has laid on GOP politicians.
A gratuitous picture of EduShyster aboard The Edupreneur.
A gratuitous picture of EduShyster aboard The Edupreneur.
Gravy Boat
Alas, Fishin’ 4 Schools was recently listed for sale for a cool $350K. Which means that your dreams of charterin’ this particular craft are officially on hold—unless you happen to be one of thewealthy Russians to whom Fishin’ 4 Schools is being advertised. In the meantime, I’m willing to bet that there is almost certainly another vessel in the future of our Florida charterin’ execs. Which leads us to today’s $200 million question: what should Hage and Pozuolli call their next yacht? How about *Gravy Boat*? Or maybe *Cur-n-sea*? Or there’s always *A-crewed-interest.* Just keep away from *The Edupreneur*—it’s taken…      Opening in fall of 2014  Opening fall of 2014

Looks like same school building to me!

The state will fund the school with public dollars, but a group called Charter School U.S.A. will run it. The Florida based company is not new to Louisiana. They also run 2 schools in Lake Charles. During it's 1st and only year of state testing the Louisiana Department of Education website shows Lake Charles Charter Academy scored a "D" in both math and reading.   .???  Opened 2013

A Minnesota-based developer has purchased a 52,000-square-foot office building on Lobdell Avenue for $1.3 million, and has plans to turn it into a charter school. Ryan Companies US Inc. purchased the building at 1900 N. Lobdell Ave. on Monday and will renovate the building for Charter Schools USA, which plans to house a new school on the 6-acre campus, says Steve Legendre of Beau Box Commercial Real Estate, who represented Ryan in the deal. Jonathan Starns of Donnie Jarreau Real Estate represented the seller, Educational Management Services. The previous tenants at the property, which include Baton Rouge College, have been relocated, Legendre says. Charter Schools USA is taking applications for students in grades K-6 and plans to open the Baton Rouge Charter Academy at Mid City in August, according to the group's website. The site says the school will teach kindergarten through sixth-grade students during the 2013-14 school year, with seventh- and eighth-grade classes to be added "in subsequent years." Charter Schools USA says it manages 48 schools across the country. The group has a rendering of the Baton Rouge school that you can check out here—April Castro

Caddo Parish - magnolia School of Excellence
KSLA News 12 reached out to Caddo Parish schools to see how they feel about the new charter school. Superintendent Gerald Dawkins sent us a statement saying, "We are the authorizer of the Magnolia Charter and have worked with them throughout the process. We acknowledge that they are an option for parents but feel more strongly in our schools and programs. If we experience losses in enrollment, we are prepared to deal with that."

None of these schools can be found on the LDOE website for report cards or school performance scores. Why?  

Lee P. Barrios, M.Ed., NBCT
Secondary English, Journalism, Gifted

"If a child struggles to clear the high bar at five feet, she will not become a "world class" jumper because someone raised the bar to six feet and yelled "jump higher," or if her “poor” performance is used to punish her coach." - - CommonSense

"I believe in standardizing automobiles. I do not believe in standardizing human beings. Standardization is a great peril which threatens American culture.”—— Albert Einstein

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