An Ohio businessman, Steven Kunkemoeller, and the owner of Florida’s Newpoint charter school chain conspired to get kick backs and were accused of organized fraud in the management of 15 Florida charters. Kunkemoeller was found guilty today and faces up to 60 years in prison. Marcus May, the Newpoint charter owner, will face trial soon. You can read the story here.
This type of criminal activity is not unusual in the charter sector. It is a function, in part, of the privatization movement in which oversight and regulation are viewed as stifling innovation. Clearly, these innovative business practices can lead to jail time. The Florida legislature failed once again this year to pass proposed legislation to curb charter profiteering. The Senate had inserted a measure in SB7055 to control real estate and other purchasing self interest machinations, but the House deleted it. How bad does it have to get before the children’s interest replaces charter management self interest?