Miami Sen. Bullard Proposes Bill to Make Charter Schools More Transparent

If you can't stop the for-profit charter school bonanza in Florida, at least let the public see how much dough private education companies are making. That's the basic message behind the bill Miami state Sen. Larcenia Bullard filed yesterday in Tallahassee.

Senate Bill 1338 would require all charter schools to create a website that states: 1) Whether they are run by a for-profit or nonprofit company, 2) The names of all the "governing officers and administrative personnel" of the management company, and 3) Any fees the school pays to the company.

That means Mavericks in Education Florida LLC, the for-profit charter chain headquartered in West Palm Beach, would have to list Frank Biden as president on its site, along with restaurant developer Mark Rodberg and real estate broker Lauren

Hollander, who are managers of the company.

Individual Mavericks high schools are incorporated as nonprofits, but they pay management fees to Mavericks in Education, which oversees their operations. Under Bullard's bill, the Mavericks High in Fort Lauderdale would have to show it paid a $267,000 management fee in the 2010-2011 school year, while the Homestead Mavericks paid a $418,000 fee the year before.

Bullard it out of town and could not be reached for comment yesterday. But her bill clearly addresses a booming business.

Only Michigan has more charter schools run by for-profit companies than Florida, according to a 2010 study published by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado. Last year, there were 145 schools in Florida run by for-profit companies such as Mavericks.

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