1. Will River City Education Services, Inc be using our sales tax dollars to repay the loans that are funding the two new charter schools? They have two new charter schools approved by the school board:
***CHARTER SCHOOL CONTRACT FOR RIVER CITY EDUCATION SERVICES, INC., TO OPEN RIVER CITY SCIENCE ACADEMY INTRACOASTAL
*** CHARTER SCHOOL CONTRACT FOR RIVER CITY EDUCATION SERVICES, INC., TO OPEN RIVER CITY SCIENCE ACADEMY SOUTHEAST
2. Is it true that according to Florida statute 1002.33, the school board could not have denied these charter school applications? If the school board had wanted to deny the application but failed to win on appeal, then the school board would have been subject to this part of the statute:
The administrative law judge shall award the prevailing party reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred during the mediation process, administrative proceeding, and any appeals, to be paid by the party whom the administrative law judge rules against.
School board member answered: Yes, this is accurate
3. Are you worried that real estate investors are getting rich off the taxpayers?
School board member answered: Yes
4. Will these charter schools still be here after the half cent sales tax ends?
School board member answered: We would not be able to predict this
5. Or will they close and we’ll essentially lose our tax dollars? HB 7069 forced local school boards to share our property taxes with charter schools. Then in 2020, HB 7097 is forcing us to share our sales tax dollars with charter schools. Quote from this article:
The report also notes that nearly 400 charters in Florida have closed over the last couple of decades. What research went into this report, and why, in Integrity Florida’s view, have charters not succeeded in their mission?
6. What can you do to mitigate the damage caused by charter schools closing?
School board member answers: This will fall to the families that make choices about which schools to attend.
7. Now that our sales tax money is going to the charter school industry, I fear charter schools are going to start popping up all over town. What will that do to our excellent neighborhood schools that are loved by the parents. I guess if the parents don’t like their neighborhood school, then perhaps they’ll be happy for another option. But it’s going to be a sad day if millions of our sales tax dollars go to build new charter schools that subsequently close and there are no clawback provisions in place to recoup our sales tax dollars even if the charter school building is sold for millions to a private school or other private investor.
School board member answered: This would be very sad and frustrating indeed.
I sent the below email to my city council member but I have not received a response:
Honorable City Council Member Boylan,
I was told that even though the charter school didn’t have to apply for a zoning change, they did have to apply for a building permit. Approval should have been denied due to traffic congestion. How do I find out who approved the building permit?
Link to article about it: https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2020/11/10/a-charter-school-is-being-built-across-the-street-from-a-public-school-some-arent-happy-about-it/
It doesn’t seem we can blame the school board for this. They have the least control over the funding and placement of charter schools. The majority on the city council by delaying the vote on the referendum and the majority state legislators for explicitly taking away the school board’s power to deny the application are to blame if you see a problem with a charter school building right across the street from an A rated neighborhood school.
But if traffic is also an issue, then we can blame the person that approved the building permit?
Can we stop this charter school from building right across the street from an A rated public school on a two lane road where traffic is already an issue? If yes, how? And if it’s too late to stop this, how can we stop it from happening all over town now that the state legislators have forced us to give our sales tax dollars to charter schools?
- Response from Dr. Greene forwarded to me from a friend:
The Oversight Committee is an independent body from the school district, and they have the autonomy to establish reporting requirements for public and charter schools. As a meeting of a governmental advisory body, there will be an opportunity for public comment, and I hope you will share your concerns there as well.
2. The latest RIVER CITY EDUCATION SERVICES, INC. form 990 can be found at this link:
Excerpt from the Form 990:
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e INSTRUCTIONAL STAFF TRAINING 92,127
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e BOARD OF EDUCATION 303,064
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e SCHOOL ADMINISTRATION 1,554,429
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e FACILITIES ACQ & RENT 1,158,065
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e FISCAL SERVICES 339,272
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e OPERATION OF PLANT 832,877
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e MAINTENANCE OF PLANT 154,098
Form 990, Part IX, Line 24e COMMUNITY SERVICE 327,143
Etc to a total of $6,232,860 on line 24 e
3. Excerpts from an opinion piece from a couple of years ago:
Thanks to HB 7069 and other laws, the most profitable enterprise in the charter school industry is real estate. To see how this works, consider the case of River City Science Academy in Jacksonville.
Link to article: https://www.news-press.com/story/opinion/contributors/2017/10/13/pushing-charter-schools-accountability/754658001/
Another article mentions it on page 184-185: https://empireofdeceit.com/resources/pdf/Empire_of_Deceit_final.pdf