Bonds for Charter Schools that can’t write English

If the Dayton Public Schools sent out an 8-page newsletter like the “Horizon Science Academy,” a congressman would be crawling up their behinds questioning why they are allowed to teach our children.

However, this charter school is about to get tax-exempt bonds to finance their little money-making “non-profit” skool. Oh, did I misspell that?

“This newsletter is only a few pages from your neighborhood school” opening line of the “Director’s Letter” on page 2.

“Having only about 200 students, we know all the students and their parents with their names and personalities”

“Horizon schools are good for all students at different academic levels: if your child is behind the grade level, our teachers spend extra time with them via after school tutoring and Saturday schools.

“to give our students a breath from hard work”

“Another breath that our students take is when it’s time for our elective classes”

Signed- “Mr. Matt”

Then we have a “Parent Comment” on “would you recommend other families to Horizon Science Academy – Dayton Downtown”

“Yes, because I seen an instant change in my child’s grades, wanting to go to school, she is happy here.”

I’ve attached a PDF of this “newsletter” for you to see for yourself:Horizon Science Academy newsletter

The vote will be Tuesday, July 26-

Deputy County Administrator Joe Tuss said the resolution was pulled from the commission agenda Thursday because of significant interest in the Horizon Science Academy and the way its new school building would be financed.

“We want to make sure we’ve got all the information together before we put it before the commission for consideration,” Tuss said.

via Dayton Daily News Archive of Past Articles | Montgomery County.

The original article on the vote:

Montgomery County commissioners will decide Thursday whether to approve the issuance of $9.2 million in tax-exempt revenue bonds to expand a controversial charter school in Dayton. Deputy County Administrator Joe Tuss said the county would have no liability for the issuance of the bonds, but commission approval is required under the Internal Revenue Code.

The bonds would be issued by the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pima, Ariz. Proceeds of the bonds would be loaned to New Plan Learning, Inc., an Ohio nonprofit corporation, to finance the expansion of Horizon Science Academy — Dayton High School at 250 Shoup Mill Road.

Chicago-based Concept Schools runs 19 Ohio charter schools, including three Horizon Science Academies in Dayton. One of the state’s largest operators of publicly financed charters, it was founded by Turkish educators inspired by religious leader and scholar, Fethullah Gulen.

The commissioners unanimously approved the same issuance of bonds in June 2010, but the process is being repeated because the approval expired before bonds could be issued, officials said.

Concept Vice President Salim Ucan said the plan calls for moving students from an elementary school at 545 Odlin Ave. to the Shoup Mill location to create a K-12 campus by the 2012-13 school year.

Part of the school would be renovated to add classrooms, offices, labs and a cafeteria, and a new gymnasium also would be built.

School officials also want to purchase 3.26 acres of adjacent property for athletic fields.

via Dayton Daily News Archive of Past Articles | Charter seeking $9.2M to expand.

A very quick investigation of Concept Schools- on their own website, finds them rebutting a TV news story in Cleveland about the recruitment of Turkish teachers using H1B visas to teach at Horizon Schools. In a state where we are extra finicky about who teaches in unionized public schools- it’s odd that we are now so short of qualified Americans to teach at HS and below- that we have to go to Turkey.

But the true zinger is that our property values that are so low and their business model is so untested that banks won’t lend to them in Dayton:

Fourth, such reports raise concerns about the Horizon Science Academy in Dayton, which is leasing its facility from an Ohio limited liability company that is owned by a Turkish businessman who was willing to take a risk on the development of this property as a school, when Dayton area banks and others were not. The Dayton school leases the property for $3.78 a square foot, which is a bargain compared to medium grade office space in Dayton, which is leased for $10 a square foot or more. News stories that make this sound like hundreds of thousand of dollars go oversees is nothing but part of an agenda of sensationalizing their stories.

via Concept’ s rebuttal of recent news stories in Ohio – Concept Schools.

This means that the tax-free bonds that Montgomery County is about to issue- are to help pay a foreign investor off. Can I sign up for that deal? And- even more confusing is that according to the article- which is clear as mud- the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pima, Ariz is issuing them? Huh? Right on their website under the non-profit area it says:

PURPOSE

The Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pima (the “Authority”), in conjunction with Wells Fargo Bank, is committed to supporting the development and expansion of the local community by awarding low interest rate loans (“Non-Profit Loan”) to nonprofit organizations in Pima County.

via Pima County Industrial Development Authority.

Is Pima County breaking its own rules?

Why is Mr. Tuss even wasting time on this deal? Is he creating more of his famous “high tech jobs”- to be imported from Turkey? Considering the state has already created a charter high school focusing on STEM- the Dayton Regional STEM school– which just bought and is remodeling the former Value City Department Store on Woodman- where is the essential public need for this school that can’t spel?

Hint for the Montgomery County Commissioners- just vote Know, I mean NO. Otherwise, we’ll have to start digging into this more and find out who is getting paid off for this dumb deal.

I need a breath from all this hard work.

UPDATE- 10:20PM- I took a breath- and then dug a little deeper:

The IDA does not act as a lender but as a “conduit,” allowing a lender to issue tax-free bonds on behalf of the borrower, Russo said. The conduit role earns the IDA fees and brings money to its partner in many projects, the Community Investment Corp.

The IDA receives a $3,000 fee for each successful application, and gets a fee of one-tenth of 1 percent of the principal of each bond issue every year. That money can help the IDA with other programs it runs, such as a nonprofit loan program and a program that helps single-family home buyers, Russo said.

The Community Investment Corp. acts as the administrator of the IDA’s charter-school financing projects. For its services the corporation charges a set-up-fee of $1,000 and an annual fee of $8,000 or $12,000, depending on the size of the bond issue. That money can help the corporation’s charter-school-finance program and other activities, such as investments in local start-ups, said executive director Frank Valenzuela, also a director of the IDA.

via Financing group’s practices questioned.

When you look at the site for “The Community Investment Corp” you find a shell of a site- with pages still under construction- even though this non-profit was set up in 1996. From their “Site”

The Community Investment Corporation (CIC) was founded in 1996 as a non-profit 5O1(c)3 agency to assist small businesses and provide public purpose services. Working in collaboration with other agencies, CIC has provided investment in new and existing businesses for start up and business expansion.

Once again, smoke and mirrors. So what we have is the Montgomery County Commissioners, voting to approve a tax exempt bond issued by a development authority in Tucson AZ that subcontracts to another Tucson non-profit to administer the bond, which is floated by a Wall Street bank (like Wells Fargo) to an Ohio non-profit, for a Chicago based firm, owned by Turks to put a school in Dayton.

And we wonder why the country is about to head into default?

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed! If you wish to support this blog and independent journalism in Dayton, consider donating. All of the effort that goes into writing posts and creating videos comes directly out of my pocket, so any amount helps!