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

Jonathan Hage - Founder of Charter Schools USA

Jonathan Hage – Founder of Charter Schools USA

This article was originally published in 2014

By: Sharon Aron Baron

Imagine your neighbor owns a Ford dealership, however, not only will he not drive a Ford, none of his family members do either. Now imagine this: the government subsidizes his Ford dealership.

Charter Schools USA operates 58 schools in several states including Florida for a combined 48,000 students, yet 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 with annual tuition costs for four students exceeding $100,000. In addition to the annual tuition, the Hage’s are big donors to the school giving $10,000 to their annual fund last year.

Charter schools are public schools that receive state tax dollars, but function with their own board 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. The Hage’s certainly have the right to send their own children to Pine Crest, but what does that say about his own schools if they’re not good enough for his own children?

If driving is any difficulty 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 that live much 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. “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 and sits on their Advisory Board 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.”

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.

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  • yongo

    Great article. The. City of coral spends a great deal of money and time to support this private business that rakes in millions of dollars. One of the reasons the city got involved in the school business was at that time the schools were experiencing class overcrowding however over the years this is not a problem that exists today. the politicians in office at that time thought that getting involved in the school business would be. A great idea and a school was born. They made the decision to locate it where it is today and now after a ton of money was spent politicians say its in the wrong place and should be moved. The new idea is to destroy a local park that is used by thousands of people for gatherings, volleyball, basketball, nitetime movies, general exercise, league softball, even birthday parties, and much more and replace it with two concrete buildings and large driveways to accommodate the busses and cars that will drop off and pick up the 2000+ students that will attend the school. These students are in addition to the almost 1000 students that attend the middle school right across the street, doesn’t make senses unless your a politician. Currently traffic is tide up in the morning and afternoon cars are parked along wiles road loading and unloading students. On rembergs and 47th street cars are parked directly under the no parking signs creating a dangerous situation for students and drivers. There is no police intervention at all. By the way some of the politicians that created this moved out of town.
    Its time for the city to rethink its position on being involved in the school business. Leave the business to the county that is doing a good job at providing coral springs with a rated schools and good teachers. Maybe they can save a park, and a neighborhood, and control the traffic and pollution that already exists in that area.

    Many students are not picked up until much later than release time and will be gathering in the park just as they do now at the public library not good.

    3000 students lots of busses and hundreds of additional cars in your neighborhood.

  • yongo

    Ok , received a pamphlet of where the charter school is going, nowhere does it show where the cars and busses transporting the 2000 students will enter or exit and where the parking will be for The cars of teachers and visitors. It states a parking garbage will be under consideration. There is not even the basic approximate measurement of the buildings. I am sure a student could have prepared a better pamphlet. A very poor job . They are putting the cart in front of the horse. they are deliberately trying to con the residents, they would love to get it approved then show the horrors when it is to late. The city managers office staff should provide a more detailed report as well as a traffic study, what effect it would have on local streets for example how many cars and busses will cut through local streets especially when wiles road is backed up. as Stop correcting i previously stated cars are already backed up from the middle school and that is no going away. putting the charter school in its current location was bad this is worse. it also may be time to reorganize the city managers office bad stuff is coming out of there. Get ready for the political talk and con. There will be a lot of missing information and just plain lies. Call, complain and vote them out. Stop this madness.

  • yongo

    The obvious answer to the charter school debacle is to allow charter USA a private, profitable corporation to do what other private businesses do
    , purchase land get approval then build a school. Same city , same teachers, same students and free coral springs from being in the school business.

  • barb

    I couldn’t agree with you more. After reading the article in the forum, what really bothered me was when they said the league’s could use the fields when the school wasn’t using them. These are softball fields where the league plays and practices. Maybe the powers that be don’t think girls rank up there with baseball and they wouldn’t get more push back then they did at Mullins. I think they are wrong. The off handed comment that North Springs Park is real close and some games could be moved there is just crazy. If you live on the other end of town driving to Betty Stradling is a 15 minute drive, North Springs Park is easily another 5 at a time when there is no traffic imagine a 6pm game. It’s time to stop screwing with Our kids facilities because the City wants a “downtown”. We forced business’s out of the current property and now that we can make a huge profit by selling the land everyone else has to get on board. Having said that I firmly feel it is time to stop spending town money on a school that is a for profit endeavor.

    • yongo

      Wow honesty and common sense I commend you. I. Can only assume that you are not a politician.

  • barb

    They say they are an A school. What is weird is they “could” make the school on par with Pine Crest, instead it’s about money. Why would we as taxpayers be subsidizing a school like that. We no longer have crowded schools and it is not needed.

  • yongo

    Coral springs residents are being taxed twice for two school systems, one a public school system open to everyone and one run by private company open to only a few of which some students aren’t residents of coral springs. The private company makes millions of dollars a year and yet now in addition to that they will receive valuable land in coral springs for free at tax payers expense. That land is currently a park that will be taken way from all those that currently use it . Taking a park from its residents is almost unheard of and a extremely dangerous policy. Once the politicians use this land grab to help a private company what park will be next. Politicians come and go after feeding their egos at tax payer expense, the harm they lives on. politicians of the past are responsible for where the school is now a very bad mistake paid for in part by the tax payers and making the owners of the school very rich. Enough,get the city out of the school business let the county run the schools that you already pay for and stop the land grab of your park system. Private companies that run a school are ok as long as the tax payers are not double taxed to pay for them. Every coral springs resident should be granted free land in the city to open a business for profit. Again stop the madness take back your city. Oh yes don’t forget to pay your increased taxes .