It turns out that small education systems in California are balancing their books by approving any Charter school that comes to them, and then charging them fees for non-existent “oversight”.
I’m not sure if this is charter schools bribing boards of education, or if it is boards of ed extorting charter schools, but it is indicative of the corruption inherent in the system:
The superintendent’s plan was born of necessity.
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, as tax revenue plummeted, small school districts across California quickly felt the pain. Many were already lean, where administrators did the work of two or three, and students were counted in tens, not thousands. The economic collapse threatened their very existence.
In Superintendent Brent Woodard’s rural district, which covered the towns of Acton and Agua Dulce about 45 miles north of Los Angeles, enrollment in 2013 had fallen by more than a quarter over five years. The area’s population had aged, the birthrate declined and some students were choosing to attend schools outside the district. Without increasing revenue or making harmful cuts, the district was facing insolvency and the threat of a state takeover.
In California’s charter school law, Woodard saw financial salvation.
Court records detail how — methodically and rapidly — the Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District began approving new charter schools. The first year, there were two. The next: 11. By 2017, the district, which operates only three schools of its own, had authorized 17 charter schools.
Some were located outside the district’s geographical boundaries, in places like L.A., Santa Clarita and Pasadena. Some were based entirely online.
Each charter brought the district something it badly needed: money.
Across California, other small districts hatched similar plans as word spread that they could fix their financial problems by approving certain types of charters and then charging them for a range of services.
This sort of corruption is the rule, rather than the exception, and it is a feature, not a bug.
Looting, and busting teachers’ unions, are the real goals of the charter school movement, and so these activities should come as no surprise.