I’ve been following a lawsuit filed against White Management. White Hat Management is a for-profit charter school management company that operates in Ohio and Florida.
A group of Cleveland and Akron charter schools is in open rebellion against the for-profit management firm that runs the schools. An unusual lawsuit brought Monday by 10 governing boards of Hope Academies of Cleveland and Akron and Life Skills Centers of Cleveland and Akron alleges that a 2006 state law passed by majority-party Republicans is unconstitutional and gives the for-profit company unchecked authority.
Charter schools are publicly funded but privately operated. In the case of White Hat Management, 96 percent of the state funding flows to the company. The governing boards say that White Hat’s interest in making a profit conflicts with the schools’ goal to educate. The suit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, says that the boards are “virtually impotent to govern the schools.”
They say that White Hat has refused to provide detailed financial information such as unaudited quarterly financial reports required under the management agreement with the schools. White Hat has also refused to provide details on grants received and also failed to spell out what funds were used to purchase school property and equipment since 2004, the suit charges.
And this month, we (the people) got a good ruling on a discovery request:
Although charter school operator and GOP donor David Brennan has long maintained that he does not have to show how his charter schools spend the millions they receive in taxpayer money each year, a Franklin County judge disagreed and ordered Brennan to open his books.
The ruling is a remarkable victory for open and accountable government and for parents who have been struggling to learn why schools run by White Hat Management have consistently had abysmal academic records.
White Hat gets 96% of all state funds provided to the complaining charter schools but has long maintained that how it spends the public’s money is not the public’s business.A Franklin County judge disagreed: Ohio law “clearly and unambiguously requires operators of community schools to provide their governing authorities with a detailed accounting of how public funds were spent,’’ according to a Wednesday ruling by Franklin County Common Pleas Judge John Bender.
White Hat has control of 96% of state funding, but they also have control of 100% of federal funding, with oversight by a community board where the members of the board themselves state in the complaint that they are “virtually impotent to govern the schools”.
The linked article is a little breathless. It’s not a “remarkable victory”. They won some and they lost some, and keep in mind this is a just a ruling on a discovery motion in an ongoing lawsuit. This whole thing could get interesting when we finally, finally get a peek at White Hat’s books.