The Bronx Global Learning Institute For Girls

Jul 16, 2019 by

“Things are seldom what they seem.  Skim milk masquerades as cream”

These lines from a 19th century operetta were not written with the Bronx Global Learning Institute For Girls in mind, but  evidence suggests that the 431-student independent charter school management may have gone a bit heavy on the cream.

According to Chalkbeat, citing an investigative report originally published by The City, the school’s bank account doubled over the prior three years, bulging to over $10 million in 2018.  During each of those years,  it is said that they were awarded $7 million in public money of which only $5 million was spent annually. 

If this is accurate, then who will answer for the rest?  Where is the money and what is being done with it?

Sounds a bit too profitable for a “non-profit”charter school. 

Have millions of taxpayer dollars eluded audit legitimately?  Have they dodged the bullet of accountability? Many charter schools consider it their birthright to do so.

It’s premature to imply or draw inferences that management has personally grown rich.  The report makes no such allegation; however, questions were raised.

Has the money been invested in infrastructure?   Doesn’t sound like it. According to parents of kids at the school, the ceiling leaks so badly that when it rains, the classrooms might as well be outdoors. The school has reportedly submitted no requests for repairs. 

Teachers on staff have been digging into their pockets to pay for essential supplies and diving into the dumpsters of other schools to rescue learning materials that were not provided to them.  They also contend that this charter school, whose self-touted “technology-rich environment” is their main selling point, is home to 5 functioning laptops divvied up to serve 100 times that many students.

In a predictably unsubstantial e-mail, a lawyer for the school conscientiously avoided answering questions but assured everyone that the school is a caring institution and will look into matters of expressed concern.  Pending the completion of this internally controlled investigation, he has imposed an open-ended moratorium on addressing them.

What is wrong with the Global Leadership Institute for Girls charter school? 

Why, for instance, did it drag its feet after its staff voted to join the United Federation of Teachers and retain the Union as its bargaining agent?  After provoking the UFT into complaining to the National Labor Relations Board,  there appeared to be a thaw in the school management’s resistance.  In good-faith the Union withdraw its complaint, but is on record as being prepared, if necessary, to re-file if the school reneges, given signs of renewed stubbornness.

The Bronx Global Learning Institute For Girls has plenty of company among charter schools, a not insignificant number of which stand out for their hubris, ineptitude and sometimes malfeasance.

Ron Isaac

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