Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Where your BCS contribution went

I've been working with our attorneys on a response to the latest BCS legal efforts in the Attorney Fees claim.  I'll share more about that document later.  However, I have a simple thought I think everyone should be concerned about. 

In their effort to collect attorney fees for the 2009-10 school year, there's a key question of how the litigation was funded.  In recent court filings, BCS legal advisor (and former head of the BCS foundation) David Spector affirms under oath that there is no "special litigation fund", that the funds for the litigation came directly from the general operational funds for the school. 

BCS further asserts that the 2009-10 litigation cost them $1.3M.  In the 2009-10 school year, BCS had 324 students.  If I recall correctly, the requested contribution in that year was about $3000.  If every family gave at the "ask", that means they brought in $972,000.  What that really says is that they spent every dime that was donated, and then part of the general budget, on litigation. 

I've spoken to what I'll call BCS moderates- parents who just want a good education for their child, and don't consider themselves part of the "charter movement".  They tell me that they've been assured that their contributions don't fund the litigation, because if it did, they wouldn't give.  I understand that sentiment, but the budget is relatively fungible.  If they have $4m in general funds, and parents contribute $975,000, what would happen if they weren't pursing a hugely expensive litigation campagin?  That money would be spent in the classroom, where it belongs.  Instead it is going to fuel the legal machine. 

When pressed about the fundraising tactics of BCS, Ken Moore has told the SCCBOE that BCS has a special litigation fund, and that the litigation costs are not coming out of the donations.  There's an obvious contradiction with the sworn statement of David Spector, but we will have to leave it to the discovery and evidence process to figure out whether Ken's statement or David's statement is correct.

I will post links to the various statements from Ken Moore and from David Spector shortly.  Meanwhile, I'm pondering that $972,000.  Even if you didn't mean to fund the litigation, you really did...

Update on 18 Dec 2012: I came across a message from the Foundation dated January 27, 2010.  The message states that the enrollment for 2009-10 was 350 (I presume that includes non-Districti students) and says the ask was $4000.  Their total target for the year is $1.4M, incl. a $100,000 match from the Moore Foundation.  The totals are slightly different but my point remains the same...