Triple dipping is okay to Education Reformers.

My dear friend Patrick Gibbons of ReDefined Ed scours the
country for school choice stories and then ranks them. He ranked bellow needs improvement:
Steven Yarbrough is a state senator
in Arizona and founder and CEO of Arizona Christian School Tuition
Organization, a tax-credit scholarship granting organization. Last week an investigative journalist at CBS 5 accused Yarbrough of
profiting from a program
he helped found. Two of the charges levied by the
news organization turned out to be false. Sen. Yarbrough was elected to office
four years after he founded the scholarship organization, and SB
, which Yarbrough did co-author, did not increase scholarship
organization management fees as the investigator claimed.
However, Yarbrough does admit to
earning money by renting real estate to his own scholarship organization and
through a third-party data processing company he co-owns. This extra income is
in addition to his $96,000-a-year salary from the scholarship organization.
Yarbrough is up front with these expenditures, declaring them in both his 990
and in an email with the journalist. But being up front with such expenditures,
sadly, isn’t enough.
While the Arizona Senate Ethics
Committee has cleared Yarbrough of wrongdoing, school choice proponents must
hold themselves to a higher standard. School choice is still in a tenuous
position and critics will latch onto any fear (real or imagined) to prevent, or
even eliminate, choice programs. Even the perception of someone making money
from choice programs (even
if they take a financial loss, or offer professional services cheaper than
) does harm to the movement.
I have to tell you after dealing
with Florida’s ethics complaint board and seeing what Arizona will allow, I believe
the only way somebody could have an ethics complaint upheld was if they were
caught with a live boy or a dead girl. But regardless it is all right for him
to pass legislation, he may not have written but you can be damn sure he voted
for it that allows him to take more public money out of classrooms and for him
to rent property to himself paying himself with public money that he gets. This
is the same thing many big charter chains do; they buy a building and then rent
it to the charter they establish for large fees which they continue to charge
even after the property is paid off.    
I want to point out that Yarborough
is receiving three sets of public money, his salary for being a legislator, his
salary for running the voucher program, and the rents he pays himself, which I
bet are above the going rate. That’s the old triple dip. Is this the kind of
guy you want in charge of children’s education?
And that’s the rub, education
reformers scream how public schools have failed our children and need to be
replaced but then they turn their heads when charlatans and mercenaries rake in
public money. Are there problems in public education? Yes, but often they are
ignored, exacerbated or created by those that seek to replace and profit off of
public schools. Like say a politician who runs a voucher program and charges
the state rent.
Yarborough doesn’t deserve a needs improvement;
he needs to be run out of town.

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