John Merrow: Baker Mitchell Hits the Charter Jackpot

A sure-fire lesson to all venture capitalists, hedge fund billionaires—who are already rich, but enough is never enough—and any other edu-carpetbaggers out there on how to fool parents and get rich quick off taxes that once supported the democratic public schools.

Diane Ravitch's blog

John Merrow says that Baker Mitchell of North Carolina could teach Jesse James a few tricks about making money.

Lesson one: Open charter schools.

Lesson two: become the sole supplier of most of the things they must purchase.

Lesson three: Keep your books closed because your for-profit corporation is private.

Lesson Four: remember to say you are doing it for the kids.

Lesson Five: Go to the bank: “Even though none of his publicly-funded schools is set up to run ‘for profit,’ about $19,000,000 of the $55,000,000 he has received in public funds has gone to his own for-profit businesses, which manage many aspects of the schools.”

Merrow writes:

“Mr. Mitchell seems to have experienced a learning curve. At first he billed his own charter schools for only two line items: ‘Building and equipment rental’ and ‘Management fees,’ for a total of just $2,600,878 in FY2008 and $2,325,881 in FY2009.

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