Roger Bacon Academy/Charter Day School releases staff salaries, still breaking law withholding administrator info
 
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- The company behind several area charter schools has finally released information about staff salaries requested by several media outlets including WWAY, but still has not released information about administrator pay.

In a release today, Charter Day School, Inc., which is run by Roger Bacon Academy, released the pay of each member of its staff, which includes Charter Day School in Leland, Columbus Charter School in Whiteville and Douglass Academy in Wilmington, though it does not explain who works at what school. The company recently released budget totals for salaries, but refused to release individual information claiming it does maintain such a list and was not required to compile it under state law.

Earlier this spring, the state Director of Charter Schools told charter school operators they must comply with state open record laws, just like any other public school, or risk losing their charter. Charter schools are run by private entities with public money.

"CDS believes this disclosure allows media outlets to get beyond the harmful fixation on the salaries of our dedicated, skilled staff and to report the real story of how Charter Schools like CDS use less taxpayer funds while obtaining better student outcomes than traditional schools," CDS said in its release.

Click here to see the information CDS released

The list of salaries show most of the teachers are paid $30,800, which is what the state currently pays public school teachers who have a bachelor's degree with zero to five years experience. While the information CDS provided shows each teacher's hire date, it does not explain each teacher's level of experience, which can be accrued at other schools. Local school districts also have the ability to pay a stipend to help increase teacher salaries.

When it released limited salary data earlier this month, CDS said in a statement that state law exempted it from most of the same requirements of a public school district. However, media outlets continued to complain to state regulators, who ordered the company to release its detailed salary information by June 27. CDS, though, says it was motivated by proposed legislation working its way through the legislature.

"Change in the disclosure law is coming, and CDS will continue to be fully compliant when overseeing its charter schools," CDS Board of Trustees Chairman John Ferrante said in the company's statement. "This detailed disclosure required by the new law will, once and for all, resolve any outstanding requests or complaints."

It does not.

WWAY in its original request for salary data also asked for that of administrators for CDS schools. We have reiterated to the company our request for that information, which is also, we believe, part of the public record.

WWAY and other media outlets across the state have requested salary information from charter schools in an effort to facilitate transparency regarding the spending of public funds as is required of public school districts.

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.

This argument is getting old. I am almost positive that everyone who argues against charter schools are in favor of competition. Competition results is a better quality product. We choose where we purchase our milk. We choose where we purchase our gas. Why should we not be able to have a choice in where we educate our children?

Before charter schools, the only option was private schools and home schools. Yes, it is a sacrifice to take your child to school and to pack their lunch. Many families have found a way to do this in exchange for sending their child to a more structured, disciplined and results oriented school.

Charter schools are not for everyone, but it is a very good option for many.

They may have no cafeteria, but they are furiously cooking the books.

If they're cooking the books AND they're still achieving a lower cost ratio per student AND their academic success rate is higher than in a generic public school ... they're doing a much better job than comparable public schools!

What could possibly be wrong with that? Conversely, why aren't the public schools doing better? If that was the case, this conversation wouldn't even be happening!

(And puleese! ... Do not say they would be if we just poured in more money!)

"If they're cooking the books AND they're still achieving a lower cost ratio per student AND their academic success rate is higher than in a generic public school ... they're doing a much better job than comparable public schools!:

This is not a fair comparison. They have a better academic success rate because they are running a defacto private school on PUBLIC TAX DOLLARS! Public schools have to take everybody, whereas charter/private schools filter out those with learning disabilities. Kids with learning disabilities, behavioral problems what have you cost more to educate as they require special services; charter schools don't offer special services, hence the artificially lower cost per student ratio.

Recipe:
Here's their recipe...

Step 1) Cherry Pick the best students (ones whose parents can afford to transport them to and from school and provide their lunch)then use their test scores to "prove" your school is better than schools who are required by law to educate ANYONE AND EVERYONE regardless of income level or academic achievement.
Step 2) If a student does not achieve or is a behavioral problem, send them back to public schools (Public Schools have to educate them regardless of discipline or grade issues, see above)
Step 3) Receive the same amount of tax dollars per student as public schools, yet not provide breakfast or lunches, transportation, or high cost athletic activities such as football, basketball, etc.
Step 4) Pocket the difference and call it "rent" and "bonuses".
Step 6) Refuse to divulge required information in a timely manner when asked by a State Agency to do so.
Step 5) Crow about how great your school is.

Mix together and serve to the gullible public, including Mr. DumbTee

1 - The parents who can afford transport and lunch cherry pick the school, not the other way around. It's starting to look like some of you resent the fact that they're able to do that. Could that be the Green Headed Monster rearing it's ugly head?
2 - Behavior and achievement problems bounced out: So what? The public school system is still available to them. It sounds like you think all students should go there anyway.
3 - Receive the same amount of tax dollars per student? Not true. They use less taxpayer dollars per student. The lunch, transport, athletic activity issue is a choice those parents decide to make and that's their business, not yours. Obviously, they're making it for a reason that's been proven beneficial to their children. Regardless, it still costs taxpayers less.
4 - Pocket the difference: Regardless, it still costs taxpayers less.
5 - Refuse to divulge info: I agree, they should.
6 - Crow about the school: That crowing sound is coming mostly from satisfied parents, and if they're the parents of the best students, they're probably smart enough to know what they're talking about.

If you include the wrong ingredients you'll screw up a recipe. You got number three completely wrong and that's probably leaving a bitter taste in your mouth.

I assume the Green Headed Monster you're referring to is jealousy (although anyone with any level of intelligence knows that jealousy is actually referred to as the Green EYED Monster)? If you're implying that I'm jealous of parents who can transport their children to school and provide their lunch, you couldn't be more wrong. I have been fortunate enough to personally deliver my children to school with breakfast in their bellies and lunchboxes in their hands to ensure that they learn and perform to the best of their abilities. However, many parents are not as fortunate which means they are unable to take advantage of these great Tax Payer supported Private Charter Schools you seem so proud of.

You try to disprove my points, but your objections only strengthen my arguments. There's nothing Green here except for the stuff that's apparently clogging up your brain. These are De Facto private schools that are spending OUR TAX DOLLARS and failing to account for them. It's easy to claim how great your test scores are when you refuse to take children with learning and behavioral problem...And I got NUMBER THREE exactly right. They receive just as much per student as public schools but SPEND LESS PER STUDENT, POCKETING THE DIFFERENCE. If any other supposed public entity was failing to account for OUR tax dollars you would be calling for a thorough investigation. Next time, leave the debate over Public Education to those of us who are intelligent enough to know what we're talking about.

Number three: NOT exactly right. North Carolina charter schools do not receive construction bond money or funds from the North Carolina Education Lottery as traditional public schools do. Monies are also not allocated for transportation (unless a public transportation program has been implemented), as well as additional funding for meals (unless a meal program has been implemented). I believe that adds up to fewer taxpayer dollars, so I would guess that means you did NOT get it EXACTLY right. Just saying ... :-)

If you will examine my point five, I agreed that they should be held accountable for disclosure.

Sorry about not just leaving the debate to only those who define themselves as intelligent enough, but I just failed to perceive that to be the case after you posted "step 5" after your "step 6" in your original reply. Maybe it's the new math, but I always thought it was the other way around.

Oh, my bad on the green "headed" monster thing (looks like the yolk was on me that time), but that doesn't give you the right to just call me "DUMBTee". It upset me so much, I almost fell off my wall (yea, I know I should be a little more hard boiled), which would have resulted in a great fall, and if that happened I'm not sure if I'd ever be able to pull myself together again.

And the truth shall set you free!!! HAHA!

Children are receiving a better education, determined by test scores, for less taxpayer money. who cares who makes what. I have to wonder who all the comments actually come from. if a public school teacher or ad
administrator wants more money apply for a job. This is America. You CAN change jobs.

For every one of these articles critical of Baker Mitchell, somehow Baker is aware of them before they are published. I would be curious to see who at WWAY has children attending CDS.

I'm also wondering what the intentions of WWAY are? Have they paid the same attention to every school receiving public funding?

Where do Mr. Wuzzardo's kids go to school? The fact that CDS may be hiding facts doesn't change the fact that students are excelling at the institution. Is it frightening that a school funded at 40% the regular public school rate is performing better? Heaven forbid a performance based pay scale actually improves teacher performance!

I was just out for a pleasant afternoon ride with my spouse and happened by a sign that said it was the site of the new South Brunswick Charter School. There was nothing there. No buildings, no permanent road, no nothing. This place is supposed to open in a month or two. Is RBA planning on inflating numbers just as they did with Douglass? A charter school closed this year in our state because the non profit associated with it ran with the monies on a Friday before the state could shut it down. All students from the school were at the public schoolhouse door Monday morning without funds to support them. This is scary stuff.

Interesting. No one in the Big ranks is listed. Where is Jean Lafave? What about administration? Its obvious now they are stealing money. No reason to hide information. Yet they would post all the little people!! Outrageous. Don't give up demand answers.

I thought about writing a fictional story where charter school salaries for the administrators are purposely withheld and when they are finally released they prove to be extraordinary and then it turns out the same people are relatives, friends or investors of the owners and further investigation shows the owners have ties to legislators who passed favorable charter school legislation; however, the plot seems too transparent and commonplace so I abandoned the idea.

Why are there missing salaries for lead teachers? One must just compare their organizational chart to the salaries listed to find the ommissions.

DEMAND TRANSPARENCY!

What are they hiding?

(Its what you get when you don't comply)

Vog

Wow! Thank you for putting so much time and effort into this news story! Not! Who cares? The schools are doing an outstanding job! They are getting less money per child than the traditional public schools. There is a news story for you! If and when you finally get the information that you are trying to get...then what? The bottom line is that these schools are doing more with less! If the founder is making money while doing it, who cares? He invested a lot of money to get the schools going. Again...the story here should be "Why do the schools that The Roger Bacon Academy manage, score better...even when they are receiving less funding?"

I have to give it to you Scott...you never stop wasting time. I wish you would have the same drive with finding wasteful spending in other state and federal programs as you do with your obsession with The Roger Bacon Academy.

Just curious- public schools provide transportation, free and reduced lunch and breakfast, and have numerous opportunities for students to play an array of sports. Are these costs rolled up in the per student education cost for publicly educated students? CDS has no cafeteria or transportation for students.

Jesus Christ Man are you serious? You are either on the payroll or know someone that is.

Or...just maybe I do not know what the goal is here. I have NO doubt that all schools are getting more money than they need....including charter schools. But why pick on the charter schools who are already doing more with less? Demand that the traditional schools do more with less. Not by cutting teacher's pay or laying teacher assistants off. These people are already earning their pay - plus! Not by raising taxes to fund more wasteful spending. Maybe they could learn something from the was The Roger Bacon Academy managers their schools.

WWAY is so obsessed with bad mouthing The Roger Bacon Academy - that they cannot see forest!

The point here is this
In public schools administrators teachers, teachers aides and other salaries are public knowledge. That is part of the "transparent government" we want, and demand.
There is no doubt RBA does more with less, however, they accept state monies and with it the requirement for transparency - THIS IS NOT DEMANDED BY WWAY but by state law and the agency that oversees charter schools. WWAY had to file to see this information that is given freely by the public school system. It should be given by RBA. That is the law.
RBA is doing a great disservice to themselves and their students by NOT releasing this info.
YOU are doing a disservice to RBA by trying to direct the argument away from the law and on to the results that RBA has achieved. There is no doubt according to test scores RBA does more with less - BUT - if the administrator is gouging the public to inflate his salary by NOT providing transportation, lunches and libraries and STILL getting state funds then he needs to be cut off from state funding. Period.

He is already using accounting tricks to pad his bottom line.
Or are YOU really afraid they'll find out he's gouging the state?

Vog

No....I am NOT afraid of what they will find. I do not have a dog in this fight. Obviously the founder is making a great deal of money. No argument there. The schools do not provide lunch nor transportation...nor do they receive funding to do so....but the parents are willing to sacrifice these accommodations in order to send their children to these schools. Not to mention the wait list of children wanting to get in these schools.

Again, where is the end to this story? NO doubt the founder is making a great deal of money....that is what happens when an investment is profitable.

IF it is determined how much money he is able to pocket and still produce a higher quality product than the traditional public schools, will WWAY then demand that the transparent traditional public schools start producing better products?

If you look at the 2012 Form 990 for CDS you'll see this:

1 B . A . MITCHELL , JR. OFFICER $1,767,981 Management Fee x
2 B. A. MITCHELL JR. OFFICER $630,696 Staff Dev. & Supervisi n x
3 B. A. MITCHELL JR. OFFICER $292,004 Back Office & Support x
4 B. A. MITCHELL JR. OFFICER $1,095,628 Building Rent - Class o X
5 B. A. MITCHELL JR. OFFICER $79,789 Building Rent - Admin ff i s
6 B. A. MITCHELL JR. OFFICER $271,284 Misc Equipment Rent x

http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/562/562173031/562173031... Look on Page 23.

The only intriguing issue is who else made big money.

By the way that would be enough to purchase 30 school buses.

As long as the consumer is happy with the product, and continues to bring their children to the school.....

The truth is that even with all the pitiful, one-sided stories that WWAY has produced and published about The Roger Bacon Academy, the wait list to get into these schools still remain.

Transportation isn't as simple as "they aren't funded for it". School systems are paid based on the amount of efficiency they demonstrate when transporting students. They aren't paid the cost of transportation students. For example, if I have a bus that picks up 30 students and does so with low mileage, my student per mile ratio is pretty low. If ten of those students go to a charter school, then the bus travels the same distance, but the efficiency (mileage vs student) goes down. Lets say the efficiency drops to 90%, then the state only pays 90% of the cost of transportation. No big deal right? 10%? For the average school system this would mean hundreds of thousands of dollars. Plus school systems have to pay the salary for transportation directors and assistants "out of pocket". When a student attends a charter school, they do take the transportation funding with them. The most expensive child to transport is not the last, but the first.

For traditional public schools, its not an option, they have to provide transportation.... But I would suggest the lack of transportation by most charters as well as the relatively isolated location in which many choose to set up shop suggests something more ominous at work- lack of food and transportation allows charters to "screen out" many students.
So you end up with a school that has students whose parents can take them and pay for Pizza or KFC everyday. That will get you a certain clientele that will be seen as "desirable" by certain parents. Meanwhile, the students who cant afford to travel or provide their food can't go. Let's say charters are the best schools.... should a child be refused the opportunity because they can't afford to pay for lunch everyday or find a ride? This wouldn't be as bothersome if these were private schools. But these aren't. These are public schools they have been set up with the sole purpose of educating the most advantaged students so they don't have to be exposed to the "regular public schools" . Public used to mean equal opportunity. Now with charters it means "I don't have to pay for my child to go to school with undesirable children." And now it also means "its taxpayer money, but its our business how we spend it."

Thank you for explaining how transportation works. If it is true, and you do seem to know what you are talking about ....it makes sense.

I do believe you should check the demographics and the income survey for the school, though.

Columbus Charter School - 38% Economically Disadvantaged

Chadbourn Elementary (closest school to Columbus Charter) 94% Economically Disadvantaged.)

Where did you get those figures? Just curious...that is not what is published on NC School Report Card.

Thank you!