Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Charters: A White Hat brass ring from Supreme Court

You had to figure that a man of David Brennan's mighty political influence would come out on top  in the latest  Ohio Supreme Court decision that permits him to  keep all of the stuff in closed charter schools.  Yes, the court said in a split decision, even if you and I paid for it.

The Akron businessman, d.b.a. White Hat Management,  runs a charter school empire that has received nearly a billion dollars in Ohio tax dollars for his comfort and safekeeping. With his reputation as the  biggest Ohio Republican political donor - for many years! - it has drained the oxygen from Gov. Kasich, the legislature and now the  GOP-controlled Ohio Supreme Court  to resist his advances.

Did I just mention Kasich, who told us that  charter schools need more transparency  while supporting  more state money for them?  He's been so enamored of these schools  that he once suggested that the charters are so successful(!)  that we ought to convert to charter universities.   On that score, don't get me started.

At the heart of the Supreme Court action is  a suit by 10 disaffected Hope Academies and Life Skills Centers that objected to White Hat's claim on all publicly funded school assets when these schools left White Hat's embrace.

No deal, White Hat said.  Our contract shows we can keep everything even if we didn't pay for  it, which leads me to ask:  Who in hell  kept watch for taxpayers over the contract when it was written?  The court, led by Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Republican fixture to the core from Akron who is among Brennan's recipients, decided  that Brennan can keep everything.

Plunderbund reported that GOP Justices Sharon Kennedy and Judith French,  asserted that "the school boards literally turned all money and responsibilities over to White Hat as an independent contractor with no expectation of transparency in how the business would be conducted."  Not even an inventory that  could have turned up a teacher's  iPhone absently left behind.

Justice William O'Neill, the lone Democrat on the bench,  dissented, saying that we were witnessing a "fraudulent conversion of public funds into personal profit". Right.  But good luck on making that idea stick against the White Hat behemoth.

Another object lesson on how soaring dollar-signed political business is carried out in Ohio these days?

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