Eupreneurship is a lucrative (and union busting) business... New York City charter school executives paid more than the chancellor of the nation's largest school district... In Chicago, charter salaries are simply NOYFB -- 'None of your _____ business!'

Because it's in trouble with just about everybody except Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, UNO and the UNO charter schools have been in the news, to the point where even the charter-loving editorial writers at the Chicago Tribune are demanding the UNO come clean. But it's still a long way before the editorialists at Chicago's newspapers actually demand that Chicago's ever growing plantation of charter schools really come clean -- viz., by full transparency about all their revenues and expenses.

So far, Chicago has learned, thanks to the UNO scandals (which now include an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC), that UNO's CEO Juan Rangal is paid a quarter million dollars a year to manage a sub-system of the city's schools that has 7,600 kids. Compare this to the salary of Barbara Byrd Bennett, who is "Chief Executive Officer" of Chicago's public schools -- and is paid a quarter million a year to oversee a system with more than 400,000 students (one subset is the UNO charter schools).

The New York Daily News reported on the 15 charter school executives who are paid more than Dennis Walcott, Chancellor of the city's public schools. Left to right in the graphic above: Village Academies Network CEO Deborah Kenny, who earned $499,146 in the 2011-12 school year; David Levin of KIPP NY, who earns $395,350; and Eva Moskowitz, who reported earning $475,244 on the Success Academy Charter Schools.Chicago is behind in exposing charter fraud and greed. A long way behind. Although Chicago charter schools like their New York counterparts are usually crying poverty, unlike New York, Chicago allows the charters to hide their revenues and expenses. Instead of requiring the charter schools of Chicago to published all relevant financial information, the members of the Chicago Board of Education routinely vote to increase charter school funding in Chicago and allow the charters to evade the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Try going to the Chicago Board of Education's website and finding out any financial information about the charter schools of Chicago.

Recently, the New York Daily News did another expose on New York charters, and discovered that 15 charter executives in New York City are being paid more than the $212,000 a year paid to the chancellor of the school system, Dennis Walcott.


Village Academies Network CEO Deborah Kenny, who earned $499,146 in the 2011-12 school year; David Levin of KIPP NY, who earns $395,350; and Eva Moskowitz, who reported earning $475,244 on the Success Academy Charter Schools tax forms, all draw bigger paychecks than Chancellor Dennis Walcott.

As charter schools cry poverty over the threat a new mayor might charge them rent, their bigwigs raked in the big bucks with at least 16 earning more than the city schools chancellor.

The outsize paychecks have even ballooned, with the top three execs chalking up raises of at least $99,000 in four years time.

While Chancellor Dennis Walcott earns $212,614 for overseeing more than 1,600 public schools, Village Academies Network CEO Deborah Kenny, who founded just two schools, scored $499,146 tax returns for the 2011-12 school year show.

Charter schools should be able to pay rent if they can pay outrageous, almost blasphemous, amounts of money, said Community Education Council 14 president Tesa Wilson.

Charter school boards defend the top salaries in part by noting theyre not relying on the public dime to attract their talent, while at the same time arguing theyre public schools that deserve public space.

Leadership salaries are competitive and come from private donations and do not take so much as a dollar from schools or students, said Ed Lewis, former board chairman of Harlem Village Academies, which, he noted, is now expanding its work to include a school of education.


Success Academy Charter Schools board chairman, Joel Greenblatt, whose private foundation paid more than half of the $475,244 Eva Moskowitz reported on the Success tax forms, said the kids would face cuts if the schools got charged rent.

We pay competitively with other similarly sized nonprofits because attracting managerial talent makes our schools better, he said.

Cutting our school budgets so we can afford tens of millions of dollars in rent would just hurt children.


Eva Moskowitz (right), who reported earning $475,244 on the Success Academy Charter School tax forms, is one of the charter school leaders leading the charge against Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasios plan to charge rent.

Moskowitz appears to have scored another raise, though complete details for 2013 arent available. Greenblatts MRM Foundation paid Moskowitz $367,500 for their fiscal year ending November 2012. The Success tax forms report she earned $258,750 from them in their fiscal year ending five months earlier.

Moskowitz is one of the charter school leaders leading the charge against Democratic mayoral candidate Bill de Blasios plan to charge rent, while his rival Joe Lhota has vowed to support an expansion of charter schools.

But its the kind of private resources Greenblatt provided that have some speculating that some charter schools are crying wolf.


These are private-sector salaries, said Brooklyn College professor David Bloomfield, noting charter schools dont always act like public schools.

There is a degree of shape shifting. Theyre private when they want to be private. They insist that theyre public when making use of public revenue sources.

Charter schools are publicly funded but privately run schools that offer a free education to city kids at the same time as they are freed from public school rules such as the requirement to abide by the teachers union contract.

Charter school officials dismissed the idea that they could -- and should -- raise money for rent, saying it was costly and inappropriate.

"There's a huge difference between raising $250,000 in private funds to attract and retain a great school leader and raising tens of millions of dollars annually to pay rent for a public school building," said Success spokeswoman Kerri Lyon.

"We believe that all children deserve a great education and that making charter schools pay rent puts an additional hurdle in the way of charter-school operators trying to educate poor children." said Marty Lipp, a spokesman for the nationally recognized nonprofit Harlem Children's Zone and its Promise Academy charter schools.


New York City schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who runs more than 1,600 public schools, earns $212,614, less than 16 of the city's top charter school executives.


At the same time, the next mayor might not want to tack rent to high pay, because it would simply set up perverse incentives for leaders finding a way to further mask their earnings, said Rutgers professor Bruce Baker, who noted there are great disparities among the charter schools access to wealth.

These salaries may be one indicator of which schools have more access to outside resources than others, Baker said.

Tallies of top earners are already incomplete, since a dozen charter schools are managed by three for-profit companies that dont have to release their tax returns.

Three charter schools also told the News the high pay packages involved unusual circumstances in 2011-12.

Harlem Childrens Zone Promise Academy I paid severance to multiple employees in 2011-12, an official noted, while declining to discuss the specific case that may have tipped the scale.

Ascend Learning officials said CEO Steven Wilson earned a salary of $209,038 with the additional payment of $60,959 covering a "partial repayment" for more than a year's work Wilson did setting up the school.

Teaching Firms of Americas Rafiq Kalam Id-Din, who collected a $98,348 salary plus a large consulting fee, also said in 2011-12 the additional pay covered his work from the previous year in setting up the school while he waited for grants to come in.

Although his only private donation was of legal services to help fight an anti-charter lawsuit that year, he insisted a new mayor shouldnt strip hard-won resources from schools that get outside help.

Mr. de Blasio has said the rich should give a little bit more, he said. You have wealthy donors that are giving money on behalf of some of the poorest kids in the city.

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