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Charters School USA Founder Won’t Put his Own Children In His Schools

Date posted: February 26, 2014

Jonathan Hage - Founder of Charter Schools USA

Jonathan Hage – Founder of Charter Schools USA

By: Sharon Aron Baron

Imagine your neighbor owns a Ford dealership, however not only will he not drive a Ford, none his family will either, preferring to drive BMW’s. Now imagine this: the state is giving his dealership money because they believe in his business.

Charter Schools USA operates 58 schools in several states, including Florida, for a combined 48,000 students, however, Charter Schools USA Founder Jonathan Hage along with his wife Sherry, Chief Academic Officer, send all four of their children to Pine Crest Schools – a private school.Hage-donor_edited-1 Tuition for four children at Pine Crest Schools costs over $100,000 a year. In addition to the annual tuition, the Hage’s are big donors to the school and last year donated over $10,000 to their annual fund.

Charter schools are public schools that receive state tax dollars, but function with their own boards of directors and enjoy substantial independence from state and local regulations.

Broward County has “school choice” which means parents can choose to send their children to any public or charter schools they want as long as it has space and so long as the parents can provide the transportation. And the Hage’s certainly have the right. But what does that say about their own schools if they’re not good enough for their own children?

If driving is an issue from their $1.8 million home in Coral Ridge Country Club, rest assured. There are parents all over Broward County driving their children to schools, including theirs, that are even further.

Charters Schools USA runs seven schools in Broward County including: Coral Springs Charter School, Hollywood Academy of Arts & Science, North Broward Academy of Excellence and Renaissance Charter Schools in Coral Springs, Cooper City, Plantation and Tamarac.

“It’s not a comforting feeing. It certainly make you wonder why,” said Renaissance Charter School parent Kevin Muscolino who said he liked the school for his daughter who is attending her first year there. “This would be the same as if the guys working at my body shop took their cars to the dealership to be fixed.”

Renaissance Charter School in Coral Springs

Renaissance Charter School in Coral Springs

Charters Schools USA receive $5,705 per student from the state of Florida. This doesn’t even include additional millions in facilities funding as well as advanced placement (AP) fees.

Let’s just do the math: With 8,600 students attending their seven schools in Broward County, this brings in over $49 million dollars annually for Charters Schools USA.

Andrew Ladanowski, parent of a Coral Springs Charter School student, sits on their Advisory Board and said if he had the $25,000, he would probably send his child to Pine Crest as well. “Mr. Hage might not want his kids to be perceived as having special treatment at one of his schools and put a teacher in an awkward position of teaching the CEO’s kid.”

“I heard about this from someone at our school and thought this was kind of weird,” said Eliana Lapointe, who has an 8th grade student at North Broward Academy.

We wrote to Jonathan and Sherry Hage and asked for their comment and at this time, have not heard back.

Said Lapointe, “We like the school. I just don’t know why they don’t use the Charter Schools for their own kids.”

AdamBaronLaw-coralsprings
  • Jason

    I just now read this article as posted by a FB friend here in Indianapolis where Charter Schools USA now operate a couple of high schools in the Indianapolis Public School district. In all honesty, I can assure all who read this post that not one, you heard me, not one Indianapolis Public Schools high school principal currently, or within the last 10 years of recency, sends his/her children to an IPS high school or a CSUSA high school. Ms Baron, let’s be truthful with each other. Would you knowingly enroll your grade 9-12 child in one of these high schools? If you answer ‘yes’, then you’re either 1) using your child as a guinea pig, 2) attempting to make a progressive statement to the public, or 3) ignoring the reality of the dysfunction in a chronically failing public high school.

    • http://coralspringstalk.com/ CoralSpringsTalk

      My child attends public high school.

  • Cathy Dvorak

    Believe me, I am as pro-public school, anti charter as they come. As a Detroit Public School teacher for 25 years, I have experienced the devastation that the charter movement has inflicted upon traditional public schools. Having said that, I think the argument you make if invalid. There are many issues you could pick with Charter Schools USA to make an argument agains charters. Yet you choose to focus on where Mr. Hage sends his own children. Shame on you. Wanting the best that you can provide for your own children is part of the American Dream and everyone, yes even you, would choose the best for your child. I am a public school supporter and would happily send my child to an excellent private school if I could afford it. That does not mean that I am not dedicated to improving the public schools for those who cannot afford to make such choices. The fact that you send your own children to public school, as I do, means that the schools in your neighborhood are doing well.