Unity School Services is the education management organization, created by Soner Tarim, signed on to run the new Woodland Prep charter school in Washington County and LEAD Academy in Montgomery. Documentary film maker Mark Hall of Austin, TX has spent years following the dealings of Tarim, who is affiliated with the controversial Gulen charter movement.
Hall was recently in Washington County to show his film, KILLING ED, to a crowd of 200 local citizens who oppose Woodland Prep. He later looked up the “office” for Unity School Services in Sugarland, TX. Here is the report he posted on Facebook. We use this with his permission.
“MYSTERY OFFICE :: We paid a visit last week to the Gülen Movement’s ’Unity School Services‘ (“USS”) a company operated by high-level Gülenist, Soner Tarim. USS is located in Sugar Land, Texas a suburb of Houston. The company was incorporated as an LLC by Soner’s wife in May, 2018 and is contracted to administer the controversial “Woodland Prep” charter school in rural Washington County, Alabama. USS also appears to be the for-profit charter management organization (CMO) that will manage “LEAD Academy” in Montgomery, AL and the new “Royal” charter schools Soner Tarim has applied to open in Texas. The company has already locked down contracts for millions of tax dollars.
We found Unity School Services address on the USS website (see photo below). The website is very typical of Gülen Movement sites for its businesses – no photos of management team or experts, lots of marketing talk (“the trusted authority”), and little information about how the long list of services will be provided. USS has a long list of services that it says it can offer: curriculum, school management, HR, professional development, technology, etc. The address for USS is 2245 Texas Drive in Sugar Land, Texas part of the Houston area.
We drove over to have a look. It’s a nice 4 story building. However, going to the office directory for the building there is NO LISTING for Unity School Services. We went upstairs to Suite 300 where USS is supposed to be located according to its own website. No listing for Unity School Services or any other company was on the outside. Turns out that Suite 300 is the location of a “Regus” mini-suites rental company – that offers cubicles and space for small mom and pop-like businesses. Going inside, we asked the receptionist if we could talk to someone from Unity School Services. She told us that “there was no one here from that company.“ I asked her if USS had any employees in the space. Answer: No. I looked at the board with the companies renting cubicles and space within the Regus office – no listing for Unity School Services (see photo) I said why would Unity School Services list their business address at this building? Answer: ”they come in by appointment.’ Evidently to use the conference room. No office. No employees. Not even a filing cabinet.
Is THIS the type of business that Alabama and Texas taxpayers should pay millions of tax dollars to? How will USS provide services with no employees? I did notice a page on their website (“Locations”) that makes the odd statement that it provides “educational services for its clients at various cities and states in the United States and throughout the world.” Really? From a Regus mini-suites address and no office? The page lists a number of states where Gülen charter schools are located – are “USS team members” teachers and administrators at Gülen Movement charter schools that will be brought in to run schools like Woodland Prep in Alabama? Public schools require lots of people to make them function – and they involve our children. Schools can’t be operated like a non-asset tech company such as Uber or Amazon. They are vital to our communities and deserve the attention of teachers, principals and other staff who live and work in those communities. Is Unity School Services a ‘real’ company deserving of our tax dollars? Or is it another apparent attempt by Gülenists to generate funds for its cult members? I don’t know – but worth asking questions about this.”
Go here to see Mark’s Facebook post, complete with pictures.
This is just one more example of why the good people of Alabama should be suspect about what is going on and why we are about to send tax dollars intended to help our public schools to a company surrounded by controversy in Texas..