photo by jrubinic

(UPDATED NOTE, 1/31/2012: Frank Barbieri, as promised, returned all checks from members of Mavericks on January 10, 2012.)

(UPDATED NOTE: I recently discovered this statement by Frank Barbieri, posted on the facebook page “Testing is Not Teaching, in response to the article below:

Simply put, my votes are not for sale.

The PBC School Board voted unanimously (with one member abstaining) to approve Maverick’s application for one charter school on February 2, 2011. We did so with information available to us then.

Seven (7) months later, personal checks came in to my re-election campaign from various individuals.

 I don’t want a question or hint of impropriety surrounding my tenure or my campaign. I’ve returned all those checks.

The value of trust is paramount especially within the Palm Beach County School District and community. I have no intention of betraying that trust.

My votes are not for sale.

Barbieri’s last filed report was on October 9. 2011, so these returned checks should appear in the next campaign record. B-Town Errant will keep you informed concerning updates to this story.)

 

When the Palm Beach Post endorsed Chuck E. Shaw for the Palm Beach County School Board’s district 2 seat, they praised the ex-JFK Medical Center Charter School principal for “how well he knows the school district.”

Shaw knows where the dinero is, too, and he found it with Frank Biden, the VP’s younger brother, and Mavericks in Education Florida, a for-profit company fanatic about constructing hundreds of new charter schools.

Mavericks currently operators one charter school in Palm Beach County, but originally the school district was not a fan of the Biden-led company. After Palm Beach County’s department of charter schools determined that Mavericks’ application did not meet financial and other standards, Frank Biden, as Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss pointed out, met with members of the school board and persuaded them to change their minds. In early February 2011, they did.

Word at the time was Biden and Mavericks had promised to donate to various school board members’ campaigns, a tactic they’ve been using since June 16, 2010, when an avalanche of Mavericks-money appeared all at once in Chuck Shaw’s campaign chest and helped him get elected to the school board.

Mavericks’ lawyer and board liaison, Charles Barnett, gave $250.

Lauren Rodberg Hollander, Mavericks’ manager, forked over $50.

Husband Steve Hollander, chief operating officer at Mavericks, seconded with another $50.

Adam Hollander, former Palm Beach County Eagle Scout, Ole Miss student, and Lauren Hollander’s son, affirmed with his $50.

Mark Rodberg, Mavericks’ developer, slid $50 toward Shaw.

Eve Rodberg donated $50.

Mavericks’ curriculum director, Bonnie Solinsky, gave Chuck $50.

Mike Rosen, Mavericks’ CPA, CFO, dished out $50.

A past Charter Schools USA employee, former Florida legislator, and current lobbyist for Mavericks, Frank Attkisson chum-n-chump changed $50.

Debbie Schatz, Mavericks’ marketing guru, handed over $50.

And Frank Biden, president (as of Dec. 5, 2011) and lobbyist for Mavericks, spared a hard-earned $50.

In the campaign records, all (except Barnett) list their addresses as 5090 PGA Blvd, Suite 200, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the home of Steve and Lauren’s Hollander Real Estate. Mavericks also uses the same address for its for-profit Next Generation in Education, LLC, managed by Mark Rodberg.

In August 2010, Mavericks’ Charles Barnett donated another $174.60.

Although Chuck Shaw abstained during the final vote on Mavericks’ charter school, it didn’t look good.

Frank Barbieri, school board chair, voted “aye,” and in September 2011, he was rewarded. The Hollander family and real estate business gave $1,500 toward Barbieri’s upcoming reelection bid. School Property Development, LLC– led by Barnett and Charles Berle–also donated $500, and Berle pitched in another $25o of his corporate cash.

With the first win and new funding, Mavericks, on November 23, 2011, had hoped to send in Frank Biden to woo the school board into allowing three more of their charters to invade the Palm Beach district (even though they are not accredited high schools), but Lisa Rab’s New Times’ published report helped put an end to the buying, at least for now.

Rab, the night before the big shindig, detailed Mavericks’ dismal state report cards and two whistle-blowing lawsuits filed by teachers against the charter operator for not offering legitimate Florida school diplomas.

In a whisper, the school board postponed the vote and on their website crossed out the Mavericks’ meeting agenda.

The board is set to pick a new superintendent on March 1, as the interim leader steps down and the nation’s 11th largest district braces for a $52 million deficit for next year.

Word on the street is that Shaw may land the gig.

Shaw and Barbieri’s terms expire in November 2012, and a few other board seats open in 2014. Keep an eye on the donations to see how far Biden and crew will go in buying out what is left of Florida democracy.

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A Walt Whitman scholar, Doug Martin is the author of the upcoming Hoosier School Heist to be published this year by Brooks Publications. His teaching experience has covered K-graduate school. His exposures of corporate education reform have appeared or been referenced in Diane Ravitch's Blog, Washington Post Answer Sheet blog, the Associated Press, Schools Matter, Parents Across America blog, Charter School Scandals, Susan Ohanian's Testing Atrocities and Outrages, @ The Chalk Face, The Huntington Teacher, KochWatch.org, Peg with Pen, the NPR/State Impact Florida, NPR/State Impact Indiana, the Pulp (Broward-Palm Beach New Times), Big Education Ape, School Matters (Indiana), A Teacher's Fight, Northeast Indiana Friends of Public Education blog, NUVO, the Indianapolis Star, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Scathing Purple Musings, Terre Haute's Tribune Star, the Times of Northwest Indiana, the Post-Tribune, HoosierEd.com, and Firedoglake, among others. Doug currently blogs at Jim Horn's Schools Matter (http://www.schoolsmatter.info/). You can find more of Doug's writings at: http://my.firedoglake.com/dougmartin

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  1. Frank Attkisson: Serial Florida Politician and Charter School Rainmaker | Scathing Purple Musings - December 11, 2011

    [...] UPDATE from Doug Martin. GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_bg", "ffffff"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_text", "333333"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_link", "0066cc"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_border", "f2f7fc"); GA_googleAddAttr("theme_url", "ff4b33"); GA_googleAddAttr("LangId", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "politics"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "education"); GA_googleAddAttr("Autotag", "basketball"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "education"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "charter-schools"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "charter-schools-in-florida"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "charter-usa"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "dennis-bakke"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "frank-attkisson"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "imagine-charter-schools"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "jeb-bush"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "jonathan-hage"); GA_googleAddAttr("Tag", "mavericks-charter-schools"); GA_googleFillSlot("wpcom_sharethrough"); Share this:ShareFacebookDiggPrintRedditStumbleUponTwitterEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  2. Was Mavericks Charter Schools – Including Joe Biden’s Brother – Trying to Buy the Palm Beach School Board? | Scathing Purple Musings - December 11, 2011

    [...] Trying to Buy the Palm Beach School Board? Posted on December 11, 2011 by Bob Sikes Campaign contributions by Maverick’s charter school operators, family members and employees are detailed in a stunning story today by Doug Martin. Records show that both school board member [...]

  3. Florida Charters “rife with insider deals and potential conflicts of interest” | Scathing Purple Musings - December 13, 2011

    [...] emphasis brings us to the conflicts-of-interests for Mavericks charter schools of Florida. Doug Martin’s stunning expose last weekend detailed the lengths that operators of Mavericks charter went to influence two Palm [...]

  4. Academica Bought FBI Investigated Broward County School Board - December 17, 2011

    [...] (This is Doug Martin’s newest article detailing Florida charter school operators’ funding of school board members in Florida.  The first article on Mavericks in Education Florida can be read here.) [...]

  5. News Flash: VP Biden's Brother Frank Has an IRS Problem - December 21, 2011

    [...] in Florida, Biden and other Mavericks in Education members have donated campaign funds to at least one county’s school board, in an attempt to expand their charter school [...]

  6. Demetrio Perez Jr. Leading Miami-Dade School Board Race, Despite Not Running - December 24, 2011

    [...] charter school operators in Florida. You can find his articles on Mavericks in Education Florida here, here, and here, and his report on Academica at this link.) Related posts:HT Editorial: Of course [...]

  7. Florida Gets Acquainted With Ohio’s Master of Charter School Disaster | Scathing Purple Musings - December 29, 2011

    [...] New Times reporter Lisa Rab has been establishing a timeline. Freelance writer Doug Martin has been following the money. Now comes word the founder of Mavericks is in some real trouble in Ohio. Writes Vince Grzegorek in [...]

  8. Palm Beach County School Board Considering Shady Charter School Applications - January 31, 2012

    [...] salute Frank Barbieri, who in response to one of my articles, has promised to give back all the checks he received from Biden [...]

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