Soner Tarim created Unity School Services in Sugarland, TX.  This is the company with management agreements with Woodland Prep charter school in Washington County and LEAD Academy in Montgomery.

According to the contract Tarim has with Woodland Prep, he gets 15 percent of ALL the revenue the school gets.  (I have no idea what his contract with LEAD Academy says, but I have a copy of the Woodland Prep contract.)

So, this is how this works in the case of Washington County.  Woodland Prep has told the state charter commission they will open this fall with 260 students.  The most recent numbers from the state department of education show that Washington County spends $8,510 in state and Federal funds for each student.

Since the money follows the child in the case of charters, 260 students times $8,510 equals $2,221,600 lost to the local public school system.  And since Tarim gets 15 percent, this is $331,890.

Which should be enough to make a few payments on a home valued at $650,000

No wonder public school supporters in Washington County object to this charter school.  The financial impact will be devasting.

And compounding the Washington County situation is the fact that Power South will close a generating plant in the county in 2020 which will cost schools $770,000 in revenue.

Editors’ note: Mark Hall is the film maker from Austin, TX who was in Chatom April 29 to show the movie, KILLING ED.  Since then he was in Houston and looked up the offices for Unity School Services.  He told me that while he did find the office, the only thing there was one woman answering the telephone.  No employees, no desks, no filing cabinets, no nothing but the lady.

How can we not have questions about this whole mess?

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly included local funds from Washington County.  This has now been corrected.  However, it should be pointed out that because of the lack of a local tax base, local funding in this system is only $1,010 per student.  This ranks 121 out of 137 Alabama systems.  By comparison, Baldwin County has $2,477 per pupil in local funding and Shelby County has $2,736.  Like Baldwin and Shelby counties, Washington County is a B ranked school system.

There is presently a bill pending in the legislature sponsored by Senator Del Marsh that would also give local funding to charter schools.