PROGRESSOHIO WANTS TO KNOW HOW MUCH TAXPAYERS ARE BEING CHARGED FOR PR AND CATERING AT PRO-CHARTER STATEHOUSE RALLY
COLUMBUS – ProgressOhio has learned the Gulen-affiliated charter schools in Ohio are planning a Statehouse rally Tuesday to try and combat a mountain of evidence that many of their schools hurt kids, waste taxpayer money and are the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation.
The group paid $50 for a permit to reserve the Statehouse Atrium and Ladies Gallery for five hours, and the memo line of the check says “Horizon Science Academy Deposit.” Horizon is providing bus transportation to the event and offers a catered lunch for parents and other allies, according to an invitation from Mustafa Ada, Director of the Horizon Science Academy of Cleveland. The invitation can be viewed here. According to the permit, Horizon hired Statehouse-approved caterers and expects a crowd of 500.
The contact person for RSVPs is listed as Sharon McGraw, the school’s director of development and communications. The phone number to her taxpayer-financed line is included on the invitation.
Unlike private schools, charter schools are considered public schools and receive tax dollars. Last year, Ohio taxpayers provided nearly $1 billion to pay for charter schools.
The day-long event also includes testimony before the State Board of Education. The state school board launched an investigation into the Horizon Science Academy of Dayton high school after a panel of former teachers provided explosive testimony on July 15 that included allegations of test tampering, rampant racism and sexism, unqualified teachers, an in-class groping game and an administrator who failed to tell parents their kids engaged in oral sex during a school-sanctioned event. Links to their testimony can be found here.
“These for-profit charter schools are paid for with taxpayer money, and this rally appears to be a waste of money,’’ said ProgressOhio Executive Director Brian Rothenberg. “Money should be spent in the classroom, not wasted on caterers and a PR campaign intended to mislead the public.”
Rothenberg is seeking answers to the following questions:
- How many buses will be transporting people to the event?
- Who is paying for the bus rental and gas?
- Who is paying how much for the catered lunches?
- In addition to Director Ada and school spokeswoman McGraw, what other school employees have worked on the rally, and how much time have they spent on it?
- Who is paying how much to Mark Weaver, a professional communicator who has been issuing press releases that use incorrect information to defend the schools?
- What is the ratio of classroom spending to administrative, lobbying, PR and political consulting costs for these schools?
- Should taxpayer dollars be permissibly used by For-Profit Charters for advocacy to receive taxpayer dollars?
- Are taxpayer expenditures for Public Relations and Lobbying for public dollars subject to audit by the Ohio Auditor?
Media are encouraged to contact Horizon’s Public Relations Consultant Mark Weaver (614-349-1145) for answers and comment.