NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

For-Profit School Riles Detroit Education Bureaucrats

September 27, 1996

A cash-strapped Michigan school district opened a for-profit school in midtown Detroit yesterday with the explicit purpose of making money -- infuriating Detroit school officials who call it "educational piracy."

  • The school district of Romulus, Michigan, plans to collect $5,300 a year in state education aid for each student taught in Detroit.
  • It has hired a small private company, Baron Schools, Inc., to run the school for $4,240 per student -- and will pocket the difference.
  • Baron, in turn, will pay students who dropped out of Detroit high schools as much as $900 a year in transportation and lunch money to attend.

Furious Detroit school officials may seek a court ruling to shut the school down, charging that Romulus is "treating students as cash cows without any interest in their educational development."

Romulus school district officials say they are only trying to raise money for their own school district -- 11 miles to the southwest of Detroit -- in ways which would be legal and would not hurt Detroit. Teachers at the school, which is geared to attract drop-outs, are not unionized.

Source: Keith Bradsher, "A New For-Profit School Sets Off a Turf Battle in Detroit," New York Times, Friday, September 27, 1996.


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