Apparently, the commenter from Ypsilanti does. Almost a month after leaving a comment on this story, she returned to leave another comment.
Despite the Michigan Department of Education listing Castlebond Enterprises as the for-profit manager of Gateway To Success, it was never ever true. West Shore Education Service District has no clue what they’re doing and listed the wrong company – according to Sarah B. All Castlebond did was some teeny tiny minuscule compliance consulting. West Shore ESD was wrong – Castlebond Enterprises never managed G2S.
This seems like a huge mistake for an intermediate school district to make. How did they not know which management firm they had contracted with? Don’t charter school authorizers need to know that? At some point they figured it out, because on October 12, 2015, the Michigan Department of Education changed the name of the management company from Castlebond Enterprises to “self-managed”.
Something Up North Progressive noted in this story the same day MDE changed the status.
Whether it was a mistake made by MDE, West Shore ESD, or maybe even stories published on this blog, someone realized there was a problem and decided self-managing Gateway To Success Academy would be a better option rather than a for-profit charter school manager with no fixed address relying on LegalZoom for legal advice. Sarah B’s insistence that Castlebond Enterprises never was the management company smacks of damage control more than a simple clerical error.
For-profit charter schools in Michigan have been nothing but a two decades-long error full of scandals, criminal activity and grift. The near invisible coverage of the biggest case of federal bank fraud and embezzlement by former charter school manager, Dr. Steve Ingersoll, reached its third week of sentencing proceedings with no end in sight. This is only one crooked charter school manager. The state of Michigan currently allows 232 for-profit charter schools to operate in the state with management companies just like Dr. Steve Ingersoll once operated. The case is in federal district court in Bay City, so the local paper covers it. The Traverse City Record-Eagle however stands mute when it comes to local charter schools raiding the safety deposit box of taxpayer funds. When a TCAPS employee does it of course, it’s front page news.
If one for-profit charter school stealing $3.5 million of the taxpayers money isn’t enough, then consider the $1.7 million the state of Michigan’s handed out to for-profit charter schools that never opened. Tea Party Charter School aka Warren Classical Academy is listed on page 15 of a report released last month. Warren Classical Academy, one of two for-profit charter schools backed by Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter Initiative is the fever dream of social media tea party diva Pasquale Battaglia. His openly racist comments on twitter are the reason why both of those for-profit charter schools failed to be authorized by anyone.
West Shore ESD making such a glaring error of not knowing who their management company is before G2S even has enough money to open in the autumn of 2016 doesn’t bode well for the charter school. Other errors people involved with G2S have made include one of the members of the Pennies From Heaven charity saying in front of witnesses while vacationing in Arizona that “G2S will never be for alternative education.” There was also the error made by Jamie Bandstra wasting professional development time at Journey Junior Senior High School pulling out G2S blueprints and asking the soon to be unemployed school staff for their input. The worst error of all was leaving 125 at-risk high school students out in the cold. These kids are scared they lost their chance to graduate from high school because their former principal and the local oil baron have to build a legacy in the community to boost their egos.
If Gateway To Success somehow manages to beat the odds and actually opens next fall, time will tell if they succeed where every other for-profit charter school opened in the same region has failed. Parents of students attending West Shore ESD schools need to pay very close attention to what is going on in Michigan and the growing scandal of for-profit charter schools operating in the state. Sarah B is right about West Shore ESD, but for the wrong reason. Authorizing Gateway To Success Academy is decidedly a huge error.