“Imagine” Trouble: Charter School Operator Places Top Admin on Leave

typewriterFrom today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch (h/t Tammy) comes news of (more) trouble in the “Imagine(d)” paradise.  In their report, Imagine Schools places top executive on leave, the paper notes

Findings about Imagine’s St. Louis real estate and contractor dealings in recent days are ‘serious” and “need to be investigated.”


The company has placed Sam Howard, executive vice president, on administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation. Imagine spokeswoman Lori Waters said. The Post-Dispatch reported that a contracting firm that renovated Imagine school buildings had made $32,000 in payments to a “Sam Howard.” Howard had no explanation for the payments.

Also, that Dennis Bakke, chief executive of Imagine Schools,

has been in town this week giving Imagine’s six underperforming charter schools in the city extra attention and support after a Post-Dispatch series showed them to be entangled in complex real estate dealings that have contributed to high rent payments while classrooms lacked basics such as textbooks.

Readers of the Errant are well aware of this company’s more than shady past as Doug Martin has documented time and again that this operation and its leadership is not the Eden of Education imagined, but something more like those twin pillars of iniquity, Sodom and Gomorrah.

But it appears the real reason these companies even exist is as a form of land speculation–a first wave gentrification program.  Doug has also written about this in “Warren Buffet and Corporate School Reformers to Gentrify/Charterize Indianapolis and Other Cities.”  Imagine offers further insight into the truth of the corporate charter movement…it’s not about education, it’s about real estate profit.  Or as David Harvey has called it Accumulation by Dispossession.

The St. Louis paper has a look at those land deals in this piece, Imagine schools’ real estate deals fuel company growth

If you haven’t kept up–here are a couple of Doug’s pieces:

“No Charter School Left Behind: Mitch Daniels, Tony Bennett, and Dennis Bakke’s Imagine Schools”

Eli Lilly’s Pushers for Corporate School Reform


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