Gary Chartrand is the chair of the state board of education
The State Board of Education over sees the Department of Education and hired commissioner Pam Stewart.
The Department of Education is handing out grants, 3.3 million dollars’ worth to only three winners, to foster partnerships between districts and charter schools.
Gary Chartrand is on the board of the KIPP charter school in Jacksonville.
Superintendent Vitti and the Duval County School board have applied for the grant. Vitti said, “KIPP is here to stay, and the KIPP expansion will occur with or without the grant,” Vitti said. “If there’s an opportunity to write a grant that benefits KIPP but also the school district, then I think it would be rather foolish financially to walk away from that.”
Gary Chartrand and the board of KIPP have given thousands and thousands of dollars to six member of the school board and thousands more to have the seventh Paula Wright defeated.
WJCT Jacksonville’s public radio station did what I consider a puff piece on the district applying for the charter grant that left out a lot of important information. They didn’t mention that last year KIPP was protected by the states rule saying schools could only drop one letter grade, a rule that Chartrand had a hand in developing. KIPP’s real school grades are F, B, C(D) B. They also didn’t mention how KIPP spends about a third more per pupil, has longer days, smaller classes, requires its parents to at least be marginally involved and may or may not be counseling out under performers, only 64 of its first class of 88 finished. The piece made it sound like KIPP is just better.
The Chartrand foundation at least partially funds WJCT’s education coverage.
I know what you are probably thinking. The rich, powerful and connected have always been able to steer resources to their pet projects and I haven’t exactly provided a smoking gun. The thing is you don’t need one to report about the relationships and the benefits that occur, and I think if the people knew about the relationships they would care and they would want better. Our public officials and the FLDOE should be above even the appearance of impropriety..