While the international press tears through 11.5 million documents leaked from the Panama financial firm, Mossack Fonseca, we have our own leaked shell game still unfolding in the sentencing hearing of Dr. Steve Ingersoll. Lots of dummy companies to spread lots of money around and make it magically disappear into Ingersoll’s pockets. Money he received from the Michigan taxpayers to run for-profit charter schools in the state using his vision therapy program, Integrated Visual Learning.
The Traverse City Record-Eagle condescended to publish a story on Sunday, focusing on Mark Noss and the close business ties he still maintains with Ingersoll despite publicly stating all connections with Ingersoll or Smart Schools Management LLC were severed. If one lesson can be learned from this, it’s that people who know they’ve been doing illegal things get caught, they will do everything possible to convince you they’re not doing illegal things.
The Record-Eagle article is everything you would expect with the lack of coverage from that paper. If only they would spend as much time reporting on the criminal behavior that’s openly happening with Grand Traverse Academy instead of sifting through Traverse City Area Public School’s business searching for anything they can blow up and fabricate into a scandal. Sad when the only comprehensive, forensic coverage happening in the state is being written without pay and published on a blog.
While weeding through Mark Noss’s creative testimony about his continued close business ties with Steve Ingersoll post-conviction, the most mind blowing part is the fee being paid by Noss to Ingersoll from GTA’s coffers for IVL. As Miss Fortune points out, Noss’s name appears with Ingersoll’s on the copyright to IVL, and he uses it in his vision therapy clinic in Traverse City. Why is he paying Ingersoll to use something he owns?
And that’s not even the shocking part. He’s paying Ingersoll $12,500 per month to use IVL in his clinic, and it’s coming out of GTA’s (the taxpayers) funds.
$12,500 per month for this crap.
It may be hard to understand how this fee is outrageous when there is nothing to compare it to, so let’s compare it to something. All of the real public schools in the area purchase curriculum for special education students from Unique Learning System. They started with a weekly newspaper that included learning activities and it’s blossomed into a full reading and math curriculum that benefits cognitively impaired and autistic students who rely on graphics for learning. ULS is a standards-based, full curriculum with six grade bands for differentiation. It’s award-winning, and unlike IVL is backed up by actual research.
How much does ULS cost per year? $479 per user, meaning the classroom teacher. Traverse Bay Intermediate School District has about 40 teachers that would use this curriculum. Do the arithmetic, that comes out to about $19,000 per year.
Compare that to the $12,500 per month Mark Noss is paying Steve Ingersoll for something he already owns the copyright; and no one still seems to know if IVL is curriculum, therapy, or what? According to parents and teachers who spoke to Up North Progressive, it appears to function as both. Or neither, except an excuse to siphon more taxpayer money from the state.
The sentencing hearing of Dr. Steve Ingersoll continues today.