Skimming a percentage off $400 million:
the total annual revenue of Gulen charter schools
Page created April 24, 2012 Last updated May 13, 2012
by C.A.S.I.L.I.P.S. - Citizens Against Special Interest Lobbying in Public Schools CASILIPS on Twitter, Slideshare
Gulenists have complete control over the finances and bookkeeping of the Gulen charter schools. It is true that they are still subject to audits, a fact often cited by their defenders as proof that the finances are handled responsibly. With complete control, however, they can manipulate both the financial data and how it is presented. Accounting is not a black-and-white matter; talented accountants can find many creative ways to shift dollar amounts from one column to another and make the books look good. Gulenists have at their disposal capable, hard-working and loyal recruits from their highly selective schools in Turkey and Central Asia. These young men can put in the hours required to master the secrets of bookkeeping, as well as to immerse themselves in the minutiae of state laws and IRS regulations.
A rough estimate of the total revenue of all the Gulen charter schools can be obtained using the total enrollment figure of 44,727 for the 2010-11 year tabulated by the Perimeter Primate blogger. This can be multiplied by a typical per-pupil funding amount, say, $8000, to yield an estimate of $357,816,000.
However, per-pupil school funding varies widely from state to state, and, moreover, Gulen charter school chains have scored multi-million dollar bond deals and grants which significantly add to their revenue. Therefore, a more detailed estimate of the total revenue is provided in the Table below, for the 2010-11 school year. This Table shows that over 400 million public education dollars passed through Gulenist hands during this year. (While the Gulen charters have obtained a few grants from private sources, the vast bulk of their funds comes from local, state and federal government sources.) This total will certainly be higher for the 2011-12 year, since several schools opened or expanded.
|State||Total revenue for 2010-11 (dollars)|
|Total United States of America||$402,823,326|
With the ability to give no-bid contracts or purchase orders for most school goods and services to their own network, the Gulenists have a setup that allows them to discreetly skim a percentage off a large amount. Even if they were netting only 10%, that would still mean almost 40 million dollars a year in pure revenue.
Sources for the numbers
Details about the sources of the estimates for total revenue given in the Table are given for some states below, and the remaining ones will be added to this page soon. Most of the data came from either annual financial statements, audits, or IRS 990 forms. In some cases where neither were available yet for 2010-11, estimates were based on 2009-10 data.
Daisy Education Corporation, charter holder of Sonoran Science Academy chain: IRS Form 990 for fiscal year July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011 shows total revenue of $9,468,080.
Paragon Education Corporation, charter holder of Paragon Science Academy: IRS Form 990 for fiscal year July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011 shows total revenue of $3,375,077.
Total for Arizona = $9,468,080 + $3,375,077 = $12,843,157
The Little Scholars of Arkansas Foundation, a 501(c)3 corporation, is the charter holder for the LISA Academy and LISA Academy North schools. Its latest available (as of April 2012) IRS 990 form (for pdf click here) covers the 2009-10 school (fiscal) year and shows total revenue of $6,133,520.
A document entitled "Charter School Facilities Program, Prop 1D 2010 Funding Round, Staff Summary Report - March 2012" which pertains to the Magnolia Educational and Research Foundation's application for state funds for school facilities, shows budgeted revenues for 2010-11 of $20,865,544. This includes all the Magnolia Science Academy schools as well as the Pacific Technology Schools.
The one additional school in California is Bay Area Technology School, run by Willow Education. Willow's IRS Form 990 for the fiscal year July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011 shows total revenue of $1,533,675.
Total for California = $20,865,544 + $1,533,675 = $22,399,219
The Charter School Renewal Application for Lotus School of Excellence, dated Nov 15, 2011 and submitted to Aurora Public Schools, gives total actual revenue for the 2010-11 school year as $4,860,599. Click here to view pdf.
Discovery Education Services: IRS Form 990 for 2010-11 fiscal year shows total revenue of $2,918,369. This is the charter holder corporation for Orlando Science Middle/High School in Orlando FL.
Neosprings Inc: IRS Form 990 for 2010-11 fiscal year shows total revenue of $2,090,758. This is the charter holder corporation for the New Springs School in Tampa FL.
River City Education Services: IRS Form 990 for 2010-11 fiscal year shows total revenue of $5,879,039. This is the charter holder corporation for River City Science Academy in Jacksonville FL.
Stars Education Services: IRS Form 990 for 2010-11 fiscal year shows total revenue of
$1,328,182. This is the charter holder corporation for Stars Middle School in Tallahassee FL.
Sweetwater Education Inc: An Independent Auditor's Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 shows total revenue of $831,812. The audit was downloaded from the Alachua County Public Schools website at this link. This is the charter holder corporation for Sweetwater Branch Academy in Gainesville FL.
Total for Florida is $2,918,369 + $2,090,758 + $5,879,039 + $1,328,182 + $831,812 =
Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School, "Financial and Compliance Report June 30, 2011 and 2010" shows on p. 3 total revenue for year ending June 30, 2011 of $4,965,245.
Rochester Academy Charter School, "Financial Statements June 30, 2011" shows on p. 5 total revenue for year ending June 30, 2011 of $3,409,309.
Syracuse Academy of Science Charter School, "Financial and Compliance Report June 30, 2011 and 2010" shows total revenue on p. 4 of $6,022,258.
Total for New York = $4,965,245 + $3,409,309 + $6,022,258 = $14,396,812
The latest IRS Form 990 for Triad Math and Science Company available as of April 2012 is for the 2009-10 school year and gives total revenue of $2,699,400.
However, a Jan 25, 2012 article by Samiha Khanna in the Independent Weekly quoted principal Hakan Orak: "For the past two years, the school has had an annual operating budget of about $4 million, he said." This figure was used.
The latest available IRS Form 990 for the Sky Foundation, charter holder of the Dove Science Academy and Discovery School chain, is for the July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010 fiscal year, and shows total revenue of $7,919,183.
Young Scholars of Central Pennsylvania, Inc: IRS Form 990 for the fiscal year July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011 shows total revenue of $2,325,830.
Truebright Science Academy Charterschool, Inc: IRS Form 990 for fiscal year July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2010 shows total revenue of $3,213,855.
Total for Pennsylvania = $2,325,830 + $3,213,855 = $5,539,685
Note that in the 2011-12 school year, a third school in Pennsylvania, Young Scholars of Western Pennsylvania, opened. A February 18, 2010 article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review said YSWP would open with 120 students, at a cost of $9000 per regular student and $17000 per special education student. Assuming all regular students, YSWP's 2011-12 budget was likely around $1,080,000.
The IRS Form 990 for the Read Foundation, the charter holder corporation for Memphis School of Excellence, shows total revenue of $2,962,800 for the fiscal year July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011.
There are two school chains in Texas, the Harmony Public Schools and the School of Science and Technology Schools chain. Within these chains, either groups of the schools or single schools constitute an entire school district. The Texas Education Agency gives total revenue for school districts on its website. It can be very confusing navigating the TEA website because of the similarity of the school names. Also, the division of the Harmony schools into districts is very non-intuitive as it is not based on geographical proximity.
|District name||State of Texas district number||Total revenue for 2010-11 (dollars)|
|Harmony Science Academy Austin||227816||16,856,047|
|Harmony Science Academy Brownsville||031803||3,716,700|
|Harmony Science Academy El Paso||071806||11,001,874|
|Harmony Science Academy Ft Worth||220813||18,433,031|
|Harmony Science Academy Houston||101846||37,491,768|
|Harmony Science Academy Laredo||240804||5,588,122|
|Harmony Science Academy Lubbock||152805||5,830,730|
|Harmony Science Academy San Antonio||015828||8,501,267|
|Harmony Science Academy Waco||161807||21,088,120|
|Harmony School of Excellence Houston||101858||23,582,863|
|Harmony School of Science Houston||101862||5,836,965|
|School of Science and Technology||015827||6,334,669|
|School of Science and Technology C||178809||3,186,503|
|School of Science and Technology D||015831||3,223,204|
|TOTAL ALL DISTRICTS||170,671,863|
Clicking on this link from the Utah State Office of Education gives an Excel spreadsheet showing total revenues for fiscal year 2010 (corresponding to 2009-10 school year) for Utah charter schools. The total revenue of Beehive Science and Technology Academy is given as $1,584,179. Since Beehive's enrollment is not growing rapidly, this is likely a good estimate for the 2010-11 school year.
The IRS Form 990 for Wisconsin Career Academy, Inc. for the fiscal year July 1, 2010 - June 30, 2011 gives total revenue of $2,762, 576.