It may not be there now, but Success Academies - Eva Moskowitz's famous cream-skimming charter network, beloved by reformies everywhere - has been putting ads up on this blog.
Eva's schools get their money from huge management fees collected from New York State*, millions in grants made possible by tax preferences given for charitable contributions, sweetheart deals involving the use of public property, and, of course, the money that "follows the child" to the charter from the public schools.
All of these funds can be attributed either directly or indirectly to the taxpayer. And, apparently, the taxpayer has no problem paying me for advertising space on this blog so that Eva Moskowitz can recruit more teachers to her charter schools. Who-hoo! Looks like Mrs. Jazzman's gonna get to go to a place with cloth napkins the next time that Google AdSense money rolls in!
Of course, Success Academies is happy to spread money around to Madison Ave and K Street:
Last year alone, the network spent an astounding $883,119 on "student recruitment" - much of it for glossy flyers mailed to hundreds of thousands of parents; bus stop and Internet ads and an army of paid recruiters to go door-to-door soliciting student applications.Hey, if Eva's going to be spreading around millions of your taxpayer dollars, why shouldn't this humble blogger get a taste? You guys are fine with Eva giving me your money, right?
Even other charter schools rarely spend more than a few thousand dollars on student recruitment.
Meanwhile, Moskowitz's network spent another $1.3 million on what it described as "network events and community outreach."
It paid $243,150 to SKD Knickerbocker, a high-powered public relations firm, to supplement its own in-house press people, and another $129,000 to a Washington consulting firm founded by President Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod.
But that wasn't all that Success Academy spent on marketing itself.
The network's first seven schools incurred an additional $912,000 "student recruitment" expenditure last year, most of it going to big advertising and branding companies.
That's comes to more than $3.4 million spent on marketing and drumming up huge numbers of application forms - in just one year.
It is perhaps the most intense campaign to sell a group of charter schools in the history of education. [emphasis mine]
* UPDATE: So it turns out the NYC charter industry has a problem with Juan Gonzalez's reporting, to which I linked above:
On this basis, Michael Regnier of the NYC Charter School Center sent out two tweets, saying my post isn't accurate.
Regular readers know how anal I get about this stuff (usually, to a fault). I don't know if Gonzalez has responded directly to NYCCSC's complaint or not. But here's a later piece about the actual approval of the fee increase for Moskowitz's network, under Gonzalez's co-byline:
STATE UNIVERSITY of New York officials on Monday granted a hefty fee increase to the charter school company run by former City Councilwoman Eva Moskowitz.So Gonzalez is sticking with the story that the money comes from the state. You can decide for yourself who's right; personally, I really couldn't care less.
The SUNY Board’s Charter Schools Committee decided — without a vote — to allow Harlem Success Academy Charter Schools to increase its per-pupil fee from $1,350 to $2,000 to run charter schools in Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn.
Committee Chairman Joseph Belluck said a vote was not needed because SUNY trustees had recently authorized the staff of its Charter Schools Institute to approve any management fee increases for charter schools.
The fee increase will not cost taxpayers additional money, but rather give Moskowitz’s company a larger share of the state dollars already headed to the schools.
Cynthia Proctor, a spokeswoman for the Charter Schools Institute, said the request was approved after a “rigorous” review determined it would not harm the fiscal health of the schools.
Moskowitz has argued her network was running a financial “shortfall” and needed the fee increase to maintain its high level of service. [emphasis mine]
Because my point here is pretty simple, and it's one Regnier doesn't seem to want to address: Eva Moskowitz is using taxpayer money to fund a public relations and recruiting campaign for her schools. And part of that money is going to snarky bloggers like yours truly.
Again: I'd like to thank the taxpayers of New York for subsidizing my (very) occasional nights out with Mrs. Jazzman, where I spend my Google AdSense money on buying her a nice dinner in the hopes that she lets me continue to blog. But does anyone think that's an appropriate use of public funds? Do Regnier and Moskowitz?