Local representatives, Bean, Fischer and Yarborough steer millions in public money towards their donors charter schools. Just another day in Florida.

Representative Fischer and Senator Aaron Bean want to give the KIPP school two million dollars extra and representative Clay Yarbourough wants to give the Tiger academy an extra million. What do these two charters have in common? They were founded by men who regularly give the three legislators campaign money.

The KIPP school was brought to town by Ponte Vedra businessman Gary Chartrand who is one of Jason Fischer’s earliest and biggest supporters. The KIPP school is not located in Fischer’s district nor is it likely many children living in his district attend the school, but that has not stopped Fischer from funneling millions extra over the years to the KIPP schools.

Fischer has also repeatedly called for an audit of DCPS schools saying they have enough money and just need to live in their means. Yet for some reason KIPP needs millions extra annually?

Fischer says it is one of the best performing schools in its neighborhood. I think that is arguable. It serves a smaller proportion of free and reduced lunch students than the nearby schools and KIPPs school grade is more up and down than a yo-yo and that probably has to do with the massive staff turnover it experiences. 

I wonder though if Fischer ever considered that the reason (he thinks) it is doing better is because year in and year out its gotten considerably more money than the surrounding schools? Isn’t Fischer and I am sure it’s lost on him, actually saying, if schools have more money they will do better? Lets give all the middle schools in the area an extra two million and see how they do. I submit they would do much better than the KIPP school, but unfortunately that isn’t how the system where legislators reward their donors works. 

“I am dedicated to seeking funding for KIPP because they have a proven model-nationwide.   KIPP alumni graduate at four times the rate of their lower-income peers,” said Fischer, in an email to WJCT. 

People should know that the KIPP school doesn’t graduate anyone. It’s a middle school, once ninth grade rolls around the students have to find another school. Furthermore did anyone notice how he qualified his statement with “Nationwide”? He had to because it is unlikely even students from KIPP Jacksonville’s first class have graduated college.  

Yarborough at least has the decency to support a charter school in his district. He told WJCT news, Tiger Academy stands out as a high-performing school in an underserved neighborhood.  It’s grads are C, B, C,C, C, D, D. Solid after a slow start but not spectacular. There are numerous other schools in the same area that do just as well if not better. They just aren’t sponsored by the Baker family like the Tiger academy is.

Speaking of the Baker family, we often here about a small, rich and white cabal of power brokers that run our city from the back room. Your Rummells, your Chartrands, your Bakers and a few others. Well friends, Bean, Fischer and Yarbourough know that if they want to keep moving up, they have to ingratiate themselves to these men, they have to carry their water. So what do they do, they funnel millions to these men, Baker and Chartrand’s pet charter schools.  

Furthermore last year these three voted on a budget that gave Duval County Public schools forty-seven cents extra in discretionary spending which is about sixty thousand dollars or 2.94 million less than they want to give their donors charter schools. How does that make sense? How is that fair?

Even if you love charter schools and think they should replace public schools this should outrage you as there are thirty other charter schools in Jacksonville, some doing pretty well, even better than the KIPP and Tiger schools are, who aren’t getting anything extra. I guess their owners are donating to the right people.

Politicians giving millions extra in public money to their donors charter schools while voting to starve our public schools is just wrong no matter how they try and justify it.

We deserve better.

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