Charter Schools USA Founder Won’t Put his Own Children In His Schools

Jonathan Hage - Founder of Charter Schools USA

Jonathan Hage – Founder of Charter Schools USA

By: Sharon Aron Baron

Imagine your neighbor owns a Ford dealership, however not only will he not drive a Ford, none his family will either, preferring to drive BMW’s. Now imagine this: the state is giving his dealership money because they believe in his business.

Charter Schools USA operates 58 schools in several states, including Florida, for a combined 48,000 students, however, Charter Schools USA Founder Jonathan Hage along with his wife Sherry, Chief Academic Officer, send all four of their children to Pine Crest Schools – a private school.Hage-donor_edited-1 Tuition for four children at Pine Crest Schools costs over $100,000 a year. In addition to the annual tuition, the Hage’s are big donors to the school and last year donated over $10,000 to their annual fund.

Charter schools are public schools that receive state tax dollars, but function with their own boards of directors and enjoy substantial independence from state and local regulations.

Broward County has “school choice” which means parents can choose to send their children to any public or charter schools they want as long as it has space and so long as the parents can provide the transportation. And the Hage’s certainly have the right. But what does that say about their own schools if they’re not good enough for their own children?

If driving is an issue from their $1.8 million home in Coral Ridge Country Club, rest assured. There are parents all over Broward County driving their children to schools, including theirs, that are even further.

Charters Schools USA runs seven schools in Broward County including: Coral Springs Charter School, Hollywood Academy of Arts & Science, North Broward Academy of Excellence and Renaissance Charter Schools in Coral Springs, Cooper City, Plantation and Tamarac.

“It’s not a comforting feeing. It certainly make you wonder why,” said Renaissance Charter School parent Kevin Muscolino who said he liked the school for his daughter who is attending her first year there. “This would be the same as if the guys working at my body shop took their cars to the dealership to be fixed.”

Renaissance Charter School in Coral Springs

Renaissance Charter School in Coral Springs

Let’s just do the math: With 8,600 students attending their seven schools in Broward County, this brings in over $49 million dollars annually for Charter Schools USA.

Andrew Ladanowski, parent of a Coral Springs Charter School student, sits on their Advisory Board and said if he had the $25,000, he would probably send his child to Pine Crest as well. “Mr. Hage might not want his kids to be perceived as having special treatment at one of his schools and put a teacher in an awkward position of teaching the CEO’s kid.”

“I heard about this from someone at our school and thought this was kind of weird,” said Eliana Lapointe, who has an 8th grade student at North Broward Academy.

We wrote to Jonathan and Sherry Hage and asked for their comment and at this time, have not heard back.

Said Lapointe, “We like the school. I just don’t know why they don’t use the Charter Schools for their own kids.”

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Tamarac Talk and Coral Springs Talk. Tamarac Talk was created in 2010 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Tamarac and to give resident's a forum. We are not affiliated with the City of Tamarac. That's why this site can be occasionally opinionated and obviously open.

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  • As someone who has always been a charter school supporter regardless of whether it was in the Near North Chicago suburbs, Northern Virginia or southeastern Broward County, I’m surprised to see this educational choice being treated as news since people who follow the Broward education system, such as it is, and who know better than to take what appears in the pages of the Herald or Sun-Sentinel at face value since the most important stories are the ones that don’t appear, have known about this fact for quite some time.

    (Including me, who has no kids in the system but who finds the White Flight of school-age kids in Hallandale Beach a very troubling issue that the South Florida news media and HB City Hall have ignored for years, with their heads in the sand like ostriches, despite the fact that it blows holes thru any pretense to having a real “community” here, which is shown at HB City Hall when sides need to be chosen on votes.
    But it’s a fact that my real estate friends tell me they don’t have the luxury of covering-up, in part, because it’s a reason that’s frequently given for why families DON’T move to Hallandale Beach.)

    The Hage family’s education choices are theirs to make, not the larger community’s.
    In any case, that decision on where the kids go was revealed during a 2013 interview between Mr. Hage and Local10’s Bob Norman in a segment about the amazing popularity of the charter schools in Broward due to legitimate concerns of parents & guardians about the quality, accountability and safety -or lack thereof- at their local public school.
    http://www.local10.com/news/charter-schools-revolution-or-wrong/22118954

    It seems to me that in order to know what motivates the Hage family decision you’d have to know something about the family and the kids and their individual desires or problems, and though I’m a very curious person, it’s not my business to know why they’ve made the decisions they’ve made, any more than it would have been appropriate to criticize the decision to send Chelsea Clinton and the Obama daughters to private schools, who did/do NOT go to public schools in DC like Amy Carter did.

    The Hage family’s decisions, like the Clinton and Obama families, was THEIR family decision, not mine or yours and I’m not going to judge someone else for making a choice like that.
    It’s called freedom of choice for a reason.

  • Proper Bostonian

    Your analogy of the Ford dealership struck a chord. Even if you own that dealership, but you can afford a Mercedes, then you should buy the Mercedes because YOU CAN AFFORD IT! I can taste the bitterness in your article.

  • ValerieP0472

    It’s fine if it’s there choice because we can all make choices but read the article. They have a duty to use their own product. In fact, by accepting taxpayers money, they have even more of a duty to use their schools for their own children. This is crazy! They are telling everyone these schools are good for everyone else…just not for them!!!

    • JohnYuma

      I don’t think there is any mandate for anyone to attend a charter school. Parents choose to send their kids there. If you live in the area and don’t think the charter is the best public school option for your children, send them to the other public schools.

  • fishermanswhooper

    It truly is amazing how people are excusing this crook for not sending his kids to his own charter schools.
    I know guy whose dad was principal where I went to school, he got no special treatment,, word would had got out had that happened. I was in a good public school where everything is public information.
    BTW, how much does Hage make a year?
    With a $1.8 million home, $100,000 for private school, bet its a heck of lot more than any school official in the state of Indiana, where he bribed the governor to do away with the State Superintendent job as an elected position after her predescessor Tony Bennett was exposed as a crook covering up for Hage’s lousy stinking school management as he was profiteering on inflated fees..

  • fishermanswhooper

    Freedom to know how much Hage makes a year is what counts. He’s a crooked profiteer off the taxpayer exploiting teachers with low pay and no future in teaching and tossing off low performing kids into public schools which still isn’t enough to keep his business model from not being exposed as a fruad.

  • fishermanswhooper

    Its always the same with these shills posting for Hage. Check out his censored page on wikipedia for his lousy charter schools. No accountability no transparancy, but what does become visible gets viciously attacked.