Since the president has declared this week National Charter School Appreciation & General Ain't Charters Swell Week, you are probably thinking, "How can I be part of the charter school excitement?"
In the past, many charters were launched that focused solidly on providing unique and exciting educational experiences for their communities. These schools were innovative. These schools were connected to their communities. These schools were icing on the public school system cake. And these schools were run by chumps. There's only one question you need to answer to gauge the success of your charter school -- am I making money.
Here's how to properly cash in on the charter school movement.
Not the school -- your portfolio. Set up multiple companies. Create a holding company that owns the building, and charge the school rent and facilities fees. Create a school management company, and hire yourself to run your school. Form your own custodial contracting company. Write your own textbooks, and then sell them to yourself. Buy a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and set yourself up as a lunch concession with ten dollar sandwiches.
Don't Overlook the Obvious
"Non-profit" just means "not wasting money by throwing it away on stockholders." Taking money hand over fist that you can't call profit? Just put it all in a big wheelbarrow and pay it to yourself as a salary. There's no legal limit to what you can be paid as the charter school operator. The only limits to your salary are the limits set by your own sense of shame. If you have no shame, then ka-ching, my friend. Ka. Ching.
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Have a fundraiser. When you wave schools and children at people, they fork over money like crazy, whether you actually need it or not. The only way it could work any better would be if you found a way to work in the American flag and puppies.
Students Are Marketing Tools
Students have a job at your charter, and that's to make your charter look good and marketable. If they won't do the job, fire them. If they aren't for sure going to graduate, fire them before senior year (100 percent graduation rate makes great ad copy). If they are going to create bad press for disciplinary reasons, fire them.
Students Are Also The Revenue Stream
The other function of students is to bring money in while not costing any more than is absolutely necessary. Never take students with special needs (unless you can use them to make the school look good without incurring extra costs). If a student will require extra disciplinary or academic intervention, fire him.
Always remember, however, that students need to be fired during Firing Season -- late enough to hold onto the money they bring, but early enough that they won't hurt your numbers.
Only Use McTeachers
Personnel costs will eat up your revenue. Make sure your teachers are young, cheap, and easily replaced. Remember -- with the proper programs in a box, teaching requires no more training and expertise than bagging up an order of fries. Why pay New Cadillac wages when all you need are Used Yugos. It should go without saying, but they should never, ever be allowed to organize. Keep them too demoralized to cause trouble, and if someone insists on causing trouble, fire her. Pro tip: TFA can be a great source of people who don't even want to be teachers and will gladly take themselves out of your way.
Remember -- You Are A Public School
You are entitled to public money, public resources, public buildings, public anything you can get them to give you. Never pay a cost out of your pocket when you can get the taxpayers to foot the bill. You also want to accent the "public" in your marketing, as it helps reduce parents' reluctance to screw over the actual public schools.
Remember -- You Are A Private School
Never let anybody see your financials, ever. This is your business, and nobody -- especially not the taxpayers who pay you -- is entitled to know anything about how you run it. "Transparency" is a dirty, dirty word.
In general, rules are for chumps. Make sure you are only playing by the ones that best serve your ROI.
Make the Right Friends
It's true that not everybody can afford to buy, say, an entire legislature or the governor of a state, but even outside of New York, it's possible to use the giant pile of money you've accumulated to help important people understand what a great public service you're performing.
We've come a long way from the days when charter school operators made the mistake of thinking that their schools should focus on educating young men and women. In Modern Times, we better understand that a well-run charter operation can contribute to an important job -- the business of taking money away from undeserving taxpayers and putting it in the hands of the deserving rich. By focusing on the One True Function of charter schools -- making money -- you can develop a robust business that will make it possible for you to send your own children to real private schools that provide the kind of education that, thank goodness, you will never try to incorporate into your own charter operation.
Cross-posted from Curmudgucation.