State inquiry focuses on failed north Minneapolis school

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 15, 2012 - 2:17 PM

A state official raised "red flags" in 2002 over finances for Harvest Prep and a closed residential academy.

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atazyawAug. 11, 1212:46 AM

"despite their academic success". Could we get some more information about that? What is their budget, compared to a public school? Do you suppose they are non-union? I smell Dayton.

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ibnnnews2Aug. 11, 12 5:56 AM

The Strib said, "The state inquiry into Eric Mahmoud's school enterprises will investigate whether they should repay the state up to $6.1 million after a residential academy built with state money failed on the north Minneapolis campus of SEED Daycare, according to newly released documents." If that's the case, the Minneapolis Public Schools owes the state more than $100 million dollars for generational failures in the MPS system.

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swiperAug. 11, 12 6:11 AM

2002 was the last year of the Ventura administration. the department did start to investigate and handed info to the Pawlenty administration when they took over in 2003 to complete the investigation. they chose not to pursue

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comment229Aug. 11, 12 6:15 AM

atazyaw: Charter's schools are all non union. If you are proud of this fact, I can send you a copy of the non union contract these teachers are forced to sign if they want a job. I have advised several young teachers to "walk away." A couple didn't last year and were "gone" by Christmas and guess what happened to their replacements? They were gone shortly after. Now, want to discuss the salary and benefits package and add to that, the duty schedule they MUST adhere to? Sorry, but a non union contract would scare even somebody from the tea party I am afraid. Nobody, should be forced to work like this.

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uptownbred63Aug. 11, 12 7:21 AM

Does anyone wonder why our public school system is in trouble? Charter schools are not on equal footing with public schools. What do charter schools cost on a per/child basis? Why do so many people believe that's there some kind of magical formula to educating kids? Hard work, a safe environment, and small class sizes are all we need. I teach in the most expensive private school in the state and believe me when I say that there is no "magical" way to teach kids. I work hard, have high expectations, teach to the whole child, and show a genuine concern for my stsudents. Charter schools give the impression that they know something about educating kids that the rest of us don't. That's a lie!

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moraspeakingAug. 11, 12 7:23 AM

"despite their academic success" ... it is insane that the focus on this school is its finances, and the collective bargaining status of its employees, etc., and its success at its core mission goes unnoticed. Why is the state not trying to find ways to keep the school functioning, and foster its success, instead of working to ensure it goes away? MEA purports to care about students, yet one of their shill's comments on this page speaks not to students and their successes, but instead to the contract "I could send you a copy" of? Please. Comment229, I will take you up on your offer; a copy of the contract is welcome at ssteacherme@yahoo.com.

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educator1Aug. 11, 12 7:39 AM

Actually, the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers has set up a group to help people start charters. The NY City Federation of Teachers has set up several charters. No, charters are not all non-union. It is important to understand and be responsible about finances. But I hope that the success of Harvest and Best Prep with inner city students (noted in the Star Tribune on August 1) also is recognized.

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uptownbred63Aug. 11, 12 7:47 AM

Dear Moraspeaking--- Success in their core mission? Did the school have success? How was it measured? And, your comment about MEA shows your contempt for the organization. Why do so many people hate public school teachers and their unions so much? Teachers aren't the ones making terrible decisions that are killing our kids. It's the boards and administrators that have no backbone and continue to drive public education into the ground. Charter schools play by different rules and advertise grandious ideas that aren't going to improve the system. Cut class sizes, demand better behavior from kids and parents, and let teachers do what they are trained to do and you will see some improvement in schools. And, you can't measure success in schools. It's a fallacy that public school critics have developed and sold to the public. Anybody that says you can that you can test to determine success is just plain wrong! We are wasting substantial time and money in this pursuit.

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sblodenAug. 11, 12 8:14 AM

moraspeaking- The reason the academic gains are hard to repeat is people like you don't want to put the funding and/or support behind education. Teachers aren't demanding more money, computers, fancy electronic "smartboards" or i-pads. Guess what, there is a flood of "technology" that goes unused in schools because it does not enhance learning. Why is it there? Because many outside of education think that "technology" is the silver bullet. There is no silver bullet, the answer is hard, hard work (k-12 is 13 years long). Ask teachers, for one time without being so angry, just what they need. I'll bet they say this: We need community support, manageable class sizes and students who are enthusiastic to learn. We need parents who value education, encourage success, and provide (Piaget's) basic needs. Teachers are not asking for more money they need positive community support from all. My wife is a teacher at MPS and in a huge victory she is receiving a % .5 (yes read one half of one percent) raise for each of the next two years! She has worked as a special education teacher for 20 years and has paid for her own masters degree. Just so you don't have to do the math she will be earning $9.94 more per pay period or a raise of 9 cents per hour. This was her first raise in 5 years. Please support the schools.

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editor25Aug. 11, 12 8:22 AM

Seeing as how the Mahmouds flaunt rules and the laws - including opaque financing methods (and criminal charges in other states that they lie about - see yesterday's story ), what are the chances that they have cheated on their test scores as well?

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