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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.


Comment on this Story

  • carla


  • Jon

    Blaming the Democrats, too bad your understanding of history is a little off.

    Please, lay out the time period during which Dems had complete control. Be sure to tell us how long it lasted.

    And also be sure to tell us what legislation was passed that you’re referencing.

    Here’s the kicker to blaming people: you have to be able to explain how it is their fault.

    And you can’t.

  • Jon

    On ignoring the bad things he’s doing and instead trying to make this about Obama.

    I’m glad you’re okay with him defrauding and fleecing the American and NC tax-payers because he is an “entrepreneur.”

  • Jon

    Because everything in America is driven by the desire for money, and nothing else.

  • Jon O

    Charter school teachers are not on the state-employee pay-scale.

  • Whitney

    Yes, it is true that the scores are above because the do teach above the level thinking at that school. You have a lot of history and science and math, but not two math classes a day. You get the opportunity to take high school level classes when in the 7th and 8th grade. I am in 10th grade now and I learned everything in my 10th grade biology class, in 7th grade. Yes, also if you are on the honor roll you can be called into remediation because the teacher, who is there everyday helping and teaching your child, thinks they could use extra help. They will not threaten anyone.

  • Lilly

    I have too have worked in different in different counties and have been paid more in some counties than in others. When filling out my paperwork in one county I was pleasantly surprised when HR said,”Oh, we can do better than that,” when we were discussing salary. I also found different counties have different local supplements depending on your certifications and whet you are teaching. One county even paid math teachers at “at risk” schools, with a degree in math a 10,000$ bonus if their EOG scores increased by a certain percent. Those that taught math but did not have a BS in math received a different amount. Not saying it’s right, but I experienced this first hand.

  • Mart

    Stop spending public school money on private schools. Call them charter if that makes you feel less elite. They are private schools, started with a noble cause and purpose and now devolved into the worst possible education spending possible.

  • lily rose

    Actually, teachers across NC Public Schools are not paid the same. It differs by county and often by the specific location of the schools with in the same county.

  • opinion

    In case you have not noticed…. teachers in NC regardless of what school…. are paid the same if qualified. As for testing… it is what every school is looking at. All schools are graded based on performance. The important part of this is the kids… are they happy? Are they doing well? More focus on them please!

  • Guest2020

    The point the other poster was trying to make is that the schools teach to the test instead of educating the children properly. However, this is not exclusive to charter schools. The regular school do it as well. The system is more concerned with accreditation and receiving grants than with the education of our children.

    Not everyone has the luxury of time to give to teaching their children what they should be learning in school. The system is broken with no fix in sight.

  • Teacher

    I’ve thought in several NC counties and have been paid exactly the same. It’s based on years …. At least when there is no pay freeze. You can look it up. NC salary on DPI.

  • My4Babies

    Sorry for the gender mix up. Guess we can’t all be father of the year like you. You’re not in that person’s home every night seeing what they’re teaching their children. Show people respect because some of them are actually trying the best they can.

  • jj

    Why am I abrasive and rude? I am not a mom, but a single dad that knows the value of an education. It is people like you that have no clue who are downing a great place for kids to get an education.

    Also, it doesn’t take a lot of time to sit down with your kids each night and work with them. That is what is wrong with a lot of parents; they want the schools to do everything. So, get off your lazy butts and work with your kids and help them learn, 10 minutes a night can make a big difference for your kids.

  • My4Babies

    JJ you are very abrasive and rude. I guess we can’t all be mother of the year like you. Who are you to treat a parent like that? Maybe their kid knows something yours doesn’t? Oh wait probably not. Your children MUST know everything. Get off your high horse!

  • Really?!

    I think the thing that everyone is missing here is that it’s perfectly fine for someone to be an entrepreneur.. But CDS IS NOT A BUSINESS.. it’s a SCHOOL. NO ONE should be making that kind of money while their employees are struggling to pay their bills. It’s BS. End of story.

  • Mom

    As for what you think of other parents,who cares I am married, i work, and i have three great , very smart kids. I was not asking for them to teach my kids very thing but this is basic geography. You have slammed everyone on here for their opinion. If this is that great of a school then way is your kid at another school. Can’t be the drive, because i drive three kids to three different schools. Still work, cook, clean and oh yes sit down and help with over an hour of homework every night.

  • jj

    Look this is done at the public school level also. One of my sons now goes to Williston and I received a letter from them that he was select to be tested in the RtL program. So, they are all teaching to the test in one way or another. Some just do it better than others.

  • jj

    I just love how everything is blamed on the Republicans when all of this was started when the Democrates was in control of everything.

    Where do you get his salary is 3M?

  • Guest-o-matic

    So, do you guys just walk around holding your pockets open waiting for people to drop money in them for no reason? Do you like all of your “free stuff”? Don’t think it fair that someone has the innate ability to make lots of money through honest enterprise?

    Obama wants each and every one of you! Go get in line for your rations!

  • Guest000000

    Put perfectly

  • jj

    So, if you kids couldn’t pick out state or capitals when they were in the fourth grade there is a problem. My kids could do it in the first grade and it had nothing to do with them going to CDS (which they did). The reason they could was because we spend time with them at home doing what parents should do.

    So, I would think you are the more of the reason and the problem. I don’t expect any school to teach my kids everything. Something’s have to be taught at home.

  • Sharon Smith

    How come parents are expected to buy SO MUCH classroom/ teacher supplies on top of the children supplies? A month lunch through Diamond enterprise (roger bacon does not have a cafeteria, so you can pay for a lunch plan) cost 3.50 a day, you pay for a month at a time, and this is the lowest average cost per day. Roger Bacon knows how to make a profit

  • Guest1111

    And you point?

  • Gramps1945

    I’m not defending these scoundrels, who are profiting, way too much, off my tax dollars. But this shows how much the Public School System, is wasting.

  • public schools

    Public schools could model this curriculum if it had the same budget and teacher to student ratio!! These schools do help a few but in the overall scheme of things they are frauds and fakes only caring about the profits turned at the end of the day!!!!!! Money received as federal aid and help is pocketed as profit that could be going towards public schools that dont pay teacher half of what they earn and buy a books for those that dont. Public schools will soon be run by these types of people that care more about profit than overall education

  • NoLongerRepublican

    Sure there is nothing at all wrong with the Republican led strategy to take tax dollars from public education and give them to an entrepreneur who pays himself the equivalent of 75 teachers salaries ($40,000/yr x 75 = $3,000,000.00) to run a “Charter School.” What a great deal, especially for the “entrepreneur.”

  • My4babies

    The tests are indeed taught all through the year. At the beginning of the year they talk about the end of grade testing. Not only do these kids fear the test but so do the teachers. I remember one of the teacher crying because her students didn’t do well. She was scared she was going to loose her job. It is pressed on the students and the teachers that the kids must do well.

  • Mom

    I keep hearing about scores, the scores are above par because that is all they teach . Very little History and Science, they have two math classes a day .My kids could not pick out states or capitals on a map in the fourth grade. We also dont want to forget that even if your child is on the honor roll they can be called to remediation , if you do not attend they will threaten to fail your child. I guess the more kids there, the more the state pays.

  • Finallytruthbtold

    Baker Mitchell’s own daughter didn’t like going to school at RBA. She only went to RBA for a very short time & never returned there as a student!!

  • Morty Sussman

    Obamas minions need to redistribute this guys wealth! Use the IRS against him! Of course, they will leave Alec Baldwin, Steven Spielberg and the other Hollywood elite Democrats wealth alone, and only target evil “rich” like this guy!

  • don wrong

    So who am I suppose to be mad at??? The Rude obnoxious Rich guy who is smart enough to figure out how to made tons of Money Legally, or the State and Local Government who are paying him tons of money each year??? If anything I’m mad at myself for not being smart enough to think this up….hey anyone want to open a Charter School???? Apparently the way the system is currently LEGALLY set up, there is money to be made!!!

  • $frommypocket

    I’m glad to read that my tax $ goes to this school. Can’t think of a better place for it to be spent.

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