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ONLY ON 3 INVESTIGATION: Documents show founder of Roger Bacon Academy making millions

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A records request uncovers that Baker Mitchell, founder of Roger Bacon Academy (RBA) in Leland, is making millions of dollars running local charter schools.

Mitchell founded RBA in 2000, hiring Mark Cramer as his headmaster. Multiple sources tell us Baker recently fired Cramer after 13 years together.

Charter schools get most of their funding from state and local tax dollars. In 2012, documents show that Brunswick County Schools paid Mitchell $4.1 million. That included 16% of the RBA's revenue that went towards management fees, more than $600,000 for "staff development and supervision," and other costs like rent.

Baker owns the land Charter Day School and RBA sit on through a group called the "Coastal Habitat Conservancy," according to county documents. Tax records report Baker received almost a million dollars to rent the land back to himself. "Coastal Habitat Conservancy" also is reported to own most of the equipment and buildings / trailers the school uses to educate students. That equipment is also rented and the money is paid back to Baker.

Tax records also show Mitchell got $3 million of $8 million in gross receipts collected by RBA and Charter Day School in 2010. Baker refuses to turn over any financial records regarding how much he pays himself, staff and teachers. Under state law, he is not required to since RBA is a private entity.

Brunswick County schools claim each student be educated by RBA is costing it $2,464 per student on the local level and $4,692 from potential state funding - a total of $7,156 per pupil. An attorney for RBA counters that the cost is more like $3,300.

We called the RBA offices Wednesday to try to talk with Baker. We were hung up on twice by his assistant, Jill Applewhite.

We will continue to investigate this story and will have updates over the coming days.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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Guest hart

I really hate people that have no clue to what they are talking about and you are one of those. Everything you have posted is incorrect. There is accoutability and that is the test scores at the end of the year. I don't see everyone beating the other schools in county for their kids low scores. Lets say that Half the teachers are not certified (which I know is incorrect) they are doing better job of educating their students than the county is will all teachers certified.

I think you will find your statment about the location of the school and the reason why is also incorrect. If that was the case then why did he open the school on Red Cross Street in Wilmington.

Again, you are incorrect. I will say I am glad they can expel students to get kids out that do not want to learn and hurts the education of those that do. I guess your kid was one of those....

And the point of this story is?

Baker Mitchell is an entrepreneur...pure and simple. He saw a need for an effective alternative to the public schooling available and filled it.

So what if he's making money! Do you think any business owner goes into business to lose money?

Salaries

Is there any way Baker Mitchell can be forced to divulge his "salary"?

I am eager to see how much this man pays himself. Interesting to read the students are taught in "trailers." Trailers?

I suppose Mitchell got a good deal on *used* trailers.

Does anyone besides me smell corruption?

The students are not taught

The students are not taught in "trailers." If you have never been to the school, then you should keep your mouth shut. It is not a perfect school, (they don't exist), but the teachers do a darn good job of teaching the students and the campus has a nice, natural setting for the classrooms, instead of an asphalt covered institutional setting. The archery team is world ranked and the student test scores are always exceptional. I can see why you would be jealous.

Your tax dollars in his pocket

The point is "Charter schools get most of their funding from state and local tax dollars. In 2012, documents show that Brunswick County Schools paid Mitchell $4.1 million. That included 16% of the RBA's revenue that went towards management fees, more than $600,000 for "staff development and supervision," and other costs like rent."

4.1 million.

Charter Schools are private

Charter Schools are private schools funded with our public tax dollars. This is CRIMINAL. Why would Brunswick County Schools pay this guy 4 million dollars in rent and management fees? This guy must be related to someone at the state level (maybe our Governor). We are just screwed....the corruption continues.

Former student

I attended Roger Bacon Academy for seven years. Not once did I see our "great" founder, I never talked to him, and the only reason I even know what he looks like is because of the picture of him in the yearbook given out at the end of each year. For somebody who is so concerned with our education where was he at when we were busting our butts to stand up to the Roger Bacon standards? To me all he cared about was his image. During middle school at RBA my mother decided to switch me and my siblings to a public school instead of dropping her kids off with a sick feeling every morning. When I started attending the public school, I was far behind in math and science, even though I excelled in those subjects at RBA. I guess the "wonderful" Roger Bacon Academy wasn't so good after all. I wasn't the only one behind either. My sister couldn't comprehend anything she read because at RBA is only mattered how fast you read not what you learned from what you read. Eventually I caught up and the only reason I was prepared for high school is because of the little poor school I went to for the rest of middle school. I feel sorry for all the kids still attending the Roger Bacon Academy, and I hope they will blessed with some knowledge before being sent off to high school. Honestly I learned more from the "crappy school" in two years than I had in seven years at RBA. Everybody complains about the public schools, well if you didn't give the money to the charter school then there wouldn't be a problem. In my opinion something needs to be done about the lazy and greedy old man taking money from the children.

My child went to RBA for a

My child went to RBA for a few years. It was sad to see that they only cared about test scored and a fast paced. The school didn't cared whether the kids got the lesson or not. They kept going with the scheduled. The schools can't do everything and I know the parents should still teach their children some at home. But my child needed help do you think they were concern. Maybe a little but she couldn't move faster then the other kids so she felt she was pushed to the side. Thank God I moved her and I see a big difference and not saying she isn't still struggling. But she is getting help and she is doing very well. She is on the honor roll and has been since the second year of leaving the school.