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Public Good vs. Private Profit: Imagine Schools, Inc. in Ohio

Susan Notes: Imagine Schools, Inc., the nation’s largest for-profit charter school management company, with 71 schools nationwide and 11 in Ohio, has a record of poor academic performance. One has to wonder what it will take to shut them down.

Imagine Schools, Inc., is the nationâs largest for-profit charter school management company, with 71 schools nationwide and 11 in Ohio.

This report found that Imagine, Inc. has a poor record of performance in Ohio and a business model that includes elaborate school real estate transactions, high management and operations fees, overlapping business relationships with its main authorizer, low spending on classroom instruction, and tight control of school finances and board relationships. These problems have led to Academic Emergency ratings for five of the company's six rated Ohio schools for the 2008-09 school year (the sixth was in Academic Watch). Because of the management companyâs poor academic record in Ohio, it was barred from opening new schools for the 2010-11 school year. Board members have resigned in frustration with Imagine practices, facility costs dramatically exceed recommended guidelines from charter experts, and teacher salaries are below those of other charters.

Ohio charters are granted only to non-profit organizations, but fully a third of the stateâs more than 300 non-profit charter schools are run by for-profit management companies, many of them out-of-state operators like Imagine Schools, Inc. This report highlights the need to eliminate for-profit companies from the education picture in Ohio. Read this report to learn more.

Press Release

Executive Summary

Full Report

Click here for Charter School documents

— Piet van Lier
Policy Matters Ohio


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