Imagine Schools, Inc., is the nation’s largest for-profit charter school management company, with 71 schools nationwide and 11 in Ohio.

This report found that Imagine, Inc. has a poor record of performance in Ohio and a business model that includes elaborate school real estate transactions, high management and operations fees, overlapping business relationships with its main authorizer, low spending on classroom instruction, and tight control of school finances and board relationships. These problems have led to Academic Emergency ratings for five of the company’s six rated Ohio schools for the 2008-09 school year (the sixth was in Academic Watch). Because of the management company’s poor academic record in Ohio, it was barred from opening new schools for the 2010-11 school year. Board members have resigned in frustration with Imagine practices, facility costs dramatically exceed recommended guidelines from charter experts, and teacher salaries are below those of other charters. continue reading

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