Wednesday, January 20, 2016

CURMUDGUCATION: CA: One More Charter Get Rich Quick Scheme

CURMUDGUCATION: CA: One More Charter Get Rich Quick Scheme:

CA: One More Charter Get Rich Quick Scheme

California's charter law has an odd little wrinkle-- as some folks read it, one school district can become the authorizer of a charter school within another school district's boundaries. Yup. I can sit in my district and give Bob's Big Charter School permission to set up shop in your district, to start poaching your students, and start sucking up your public tax dollars.

You can see why the district that's being raided would object. But why would any district want to get involved in some distant charter school?

Meet Steve Van Zant.

Van Zant acquired a BA in English from San Diego State in 1985 and an MS in Education Administration in 1988. He indicates that he started as "an elementary teacher with leadership responsibilities," but in 1991 he stared his first principal job and worked his way up to superintendent in 2006. In 2013 he was hired at his sixth administrative position-- superintendent of Sausalito Marin City School District, a district with deep pockets but a shrinking student body. He's been working there three days a week, but it was at his previous superintendent gig with Mountain Empire Unified School District that Van Zant really hit paydirt.

Van Zant turned into Mountain Empire into a prodigious authorizer of charter schools in other peoples' districts. And then those charters turned around and hired Van Zant's consulting firm to help them run their schools. He would scratch their back, and they would make it rain all over his. Here's 
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