Michigan allows several authorities, including local school districts and state universities, to hold the charter of charter schools. Robert Thompson, a retired businessman wants to build, out of his own money, $200 million worth of school buildings for some new charter schools for Detroit.
The proposal has been hindered by the refusal of the Detroit Public Schools chief, who has used his friends in the state government to block the new schools. Remember the old rule: Follow the Money.
If the DPS charters the schools, it gets a 3 percent commission of the funds ($6 million). If, as the DPS suggests, 25,000 students go to the charter schools, it also loses over $175 million each year in state funds.
The CEO of the schools, Kenneth Burnley, says that the Detroit system can be trusted with the charter. Thompson begs to differ. Burnley may in fact be an honorable man, but given the history of the DPS, I’d trust Thompson on this.
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