The state education department in Ohio has taken control of eight charter schools and closed four of them for poor performance. Two of the closed charters are operated by the for-profit charter chain Imagine Inc. of Virginia.
The for-profit company has been criticized for charging its schools what the state has called exorbitant rent. The rent, in turn, is used to pay back private investors who buy up the charter school property then lease it back to the school management company….
The Romig Road operation, Imagine Leadership Academy, was on notice in 2012 that it would have to close in 2013 for poor academics. The charter school, instead, closed a year early, found a new school board and reopened under the same management company.
By creating a new school, the clock was restarted on its academic performance. And even though it is performing as poorly, or worse, than the two Imagine schools targeted for closure, the Ohio Department of Education cannot intervene.
Imagine Schools operates 17 charter schools in Ohio, including Imagine Akron Academy, a kindergarten school also taken over by the state after the Portage County Educational Service Center closed.