Public Hearings This Week on For-profit Suburban Virtual Charter School with Dismal Performance Record

K12 Inc. PAC – whose Tennessee schools consistently perform in bottom 11% – spent $36,000 in donations to 37 Illinois lawmakers in charm offensive, say community residents.

GENEVA, IL–(ENEWSPF)–March 18, 2013.  Community residents and school district members are gearing up for public hearings tonight, Tuesday and Wednesday on a proposal to open a for-profit virtual charter school targeting students in 18 suburban Fox River Valley school districts by a company with a dismal performance record. The springboard for the pubshback was a Sunday Geneva public forum, where residents learned more about    the rapidly breaking scheme by K12 Inc., a for-profit virtual charter school company which has come under fire in other states for shoddy management practices that range from misleading investors to covering up poor student performance.

Tennessee State Representative Gloria Johnson, a career schoolteacher, was among those who spoke out about K12 Inc.’s questionable practices, which have been dubbed by local activists as a Wall Street scheme to enrich highly paid school executives and investors at the expense of students, taxpayers and local schools. Tennessee is among the states now investigating K12 Inc. for questionable educational practices – and where K12 students typically performed in the bottom 11% of the state’s performance records, according to Johnson.

“K12 Inc. has received more than $15 million from Tennessee taxpayers for its online school,” said Johnson, who traveled to Geneva to share her state’s troubling experiences with K12 Inc. “But K12 Inc. is among the state’s worst performing schools – and has also been exposed for directing teachers to delete students’ poor grades to hide its poor track record.”

A sizable portion of the public money collected by K12 is rolled back into generating more business rather than supporting quality student education. K12 spent $26.5 million on advertising in 2010, and employees describe a high-pressure sales environment aimed at one thing: enrollment that boosts income (New York Times). K12 Inc.’s PAC has also spent at least $36,000 in Illinois alone on donations to state lawmakers, according to inspections of political donation records.

Big bucks are on the line, with the on-line learning industry expected to earn more than $20 billion nationally by 2015 – and companies like K12 at the heart of that endeavor. But their track record in educating kids is dubious. In Florida, teachers charged that K12 Inc. had tried to force them to falsify attendance records. The company has also been accused of assigning hundreds of students to a single teacher: One K12 Inc. Florida virtual school reported a 275:1 student to teacher ratio (Education News). Late last year Georgia officials threatened to close K12 Inc.’s online school over issues with special education students. And dozens of former employees of the company’s cyber schools have accused management of manipulating data on enrollment, student performance and attendance to cover up shoddy education standards and high student turnover in Pennsylvania and other states. 

“This company has one agenda – to take public tax dollars out of our publicly accountable schools and feed its profits at the expense of quality education standards and our students,” said John Laesch of Northern Illinois Jobs With Justice, which organized Sunday’s public forum. “Our kids, our parents and our taxpayers deserve better.”

K12 Inc. sent three employees to the public forum to try to sanitize the company’s track record – including Randall Greenway, K12 Inc.s Vice President of School Development for the Wall Street-traded company, who said he came to speak out for the “not-for-profit virtual charter” which would be run by his company. But Greenway and his associates refused to answer questions about K12’s educational scores, management practices, or the salaries they pay top executives. K12’s CEO makes almost $4 million/year, and other senior executives earn salaries dozens of times higher than those paid in the public sector – a scenario that allows a large, out-of-state corporation to line its pockets at the expense of local students, parents and taxpayers, say local residents.

“This scheme will allow K12 executives and the Wall Street hedge funds who back this scheme to take vitally needed public dollars away from public schools – while their track record as ‘educators’ has a growing record of failure,” says NIJwJ Co-Chair Mary Shesgreen.

Upcoming public school district hearings on K12 virtual charter school application:

Naperville District 204
Monday, March 18th at 5:00 p.m.
Crouse Education Center
780 Shoreline Drive, Aurora, IL 60504
Contact District 204’s school board:

Naperville District 203
Monday, March 18th at 5:00 p.m.
Public School Administration Canter
203 W. Hillside Road, Naperville, IL 60540
Contact District 203’s School Board:

Aurora District 131
Wednesday, March 20th at 5:30 p.m.
School Service Center
417 Fifth Street, Aurora, IL 60505
Contact District 131 School Board:

Aurora District 129
Monday, March 18th at 6:00 p.m.
West Aurora High School Library
1201 W. New York Street, Aurora, IL 60506
Contact District 129 school board:

Batavia District 101
Tuesday, March 19th from 6 p.m.
Rosalee Jones Administration Center
335 W. Wilson Street, Batavia IL 60510
Contact the Batavia School Board:

Geneva District 304
The first public hearing was already held on March 11. According to School Superintendent Kent Mutchler, K12 Inc. did not even show up to defend their charter school application.The first real vote for or against a charter school will happen on Monday, April 8th at 7:00 p.m., Williamsburg Elementary School, 1812 Williamsburg Avenue, Geneva, IL 60134
Contact the Geneva School Board:
Or write and call [email protected] / (630) 463-3010

DeKalb District 428
Tuesday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m.
District 428 Education Center
901 S. 4th Street, DeKalb, IL 60115
Contact DeKalb’s District 428 board members: You can send one e-mail to all of the board members by writing: [email protected]

Yorkville District 115
Monday, March 18th at 8:00 p.m.
602B Center Parkway, Yorkville, IL 60560
Contact Yorkville’s District 115 board members:

Kaneland District 302
Monday, March 18th at 7:00 p.m.
Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554
Contact the Kaneland School Board:

Sycamore District 427
Tuesday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m.
Cafeteria at Sycamore Middle School
150 Maplewood Drive, Sycamore, IL 60178
Contact the Sycamore School District Board Members:

Central District 301
Monday, March 18th at 6:00 p.m.
Central High School
44W303 Plato Road, Burlington, IL 60140 (GPS use Hampshire, IL)
To contact District 301’s School Board, e-mail: [email protected]

SD U-46 (Elgin)
Monday, March 18th at 7:00 p.m.
U-46 Office, 355 E Chicago Street, Elgin, IL 60120
Contact the Elgin School Board:

Plainfield SD 202
Monday, March 18, 2013 from 8:30-9:30 p.m., Administrative Center, 15732 Howard Street, Plainfield, IL 60544. Any person desiring to appear at the public hearing and present testimony concerning said proposal for a charter school should contact Glenn Wood, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at (815) 577-4069.
Contact the Plainfield School Board:

CUSD 300 (Carpentersville)
Tuesday, March 19th at 6:00 p.m.
Westfield Community School
2100 Sleepy Hollow Road, Algonquin, IL 60102. You do not have to RSVP to have 5 minutes to present your position to the District 300 School Board. To share information with all board members simply write an e-mail to [email protected]

Valley View District 365 U
Wednesday, March 27, 6:30 p.m.
755 Dalhart Avenue, Romeoville, IL.
Contact District 365U’s School Board:

Oswego District 308
Tuesday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m.
The Community Room of Oswego East High School, 1525 Harvey Road, Oswego.

Contact Oswego Distrcit 308’s School Board:

St. Charles District 303
Monday, March 18th at 7:00 p.m.
District 303 Office, 201 S. 7th Street, St. Charles, IL 60174
Contact the St. Charles School Board:

CUSD 200 (Wheaton)
Monday, March 18th at 7:00-9:00 p.m.
School Service Center
130 West Park Avenue, Wheaton, IL 60189. There will be a 5 minute limit on public comment and no pre-registration is needed.
Contact the CUSD 200 School Board: