A state school board member is questioning whether family members should be allowed to contract with one another to run charter schools, calling the relationship between a charter-school academy and its management company “not right.”
But the practice of family members running charter schools together is not unique to one school. Charter schools are independently run public schools often started by groups of parents.
Outgoing state school board member Denis Morrill raised the issue at a board meeting this month as the board considered American Preparatory Academy’s request to expand beyond its current plans. The academy pays a charter school management company $986 a year per student to run its two schools, according to the management agreement. The company is owned by sisters of the chairman of the academy’s board.
“I’m not willing to approve and watch expand something that puts another $920 a year in the pocket of the sister of the person who’s asking for the expansion,” Morrill said.
With about 1,140 students enrolled in American Preparatory Academy’s two schools, the for-profit management company, led by Carolyn Sharette, receives more than $1 million a year, she said. Sharette’s brother, Howard Headlee, chairs the American Preparatory board, which hired Sharette’s company. The academy is opening a third campus in the fall with another 720 students.
Sharette, Headlee and their sister Laura Campbell opened the first school together in 2003. Sharette and Campbell worked at the school and later created the charter management company, called American Preparatory Schools Inc…
Joel Coleman, a founder and board member of Monticello Academy charter school, won Morrill’s seat this month. Coleman’s wife had served as director of Monticello until the state Charter School Board ousted her last year after an investigation spurred by complaints from parents about low teacher morale and efforts to block parental involvement in the school’s management, which they said was paralyzed by conflicts of interest.
Kim Coleman is now suing a number of state Charter School Board members and other education officials for more than $5 million for allegedly unlawfully removing her from her post, among other allegations…
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American Preparatory Academy
CHARTER SCHOOLS’ FAMILY TIES SPARK QUESTIONS; November 13, 2010; Salt Lake Tribune (UT)