PA: Charter Laws "Absolute Worst"
States have taken a variety of approaches to the business of replacing public schools with publicly funded private charters. In states like Florida and North Carolina, the focus has been on tearing down the public system to make room for the charters. But in Pennsylvania, the emphasis has been on making charters so easily lucrative that edu-preneurs find getting rich easier than printing money.PA Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has made charter law one of his regular talking points, and charter operators have provided him with ample fodder.
For instance, back in August Nicholas Trombetta finally pled guilty to a tax conspiracy charge that he had fought for three years, a charge that he had defrauded taxpayers to the tune of $8 million. These were federal charges brought by a US Attorney in federal court; in other words, the state of Pennsylvania was continuing to let this guy do business as usual.
After the guilty plea, DePasquale took a look at Trombetta's business dealings. Trombetta is the founder-operator of PA Cyber Charter School (until 2012, just before the fertilizer met the fan) and also the founder of Lincoln Performing Arts Center School and some other charter-related businesses. DePasquale found a number of issues, including hiring family members for big-money jobs, and funneling giant gouts of money to a no-oversight management company. All shady and costing the taxpayers millions of dollars, but also, as DePasquale notes, perfectly legal under CURMUDGUCATION: PA: Charter Laws "Absolute Worst":