Home > Uncategorized > New HQ for Cuomo’s Favorite Charter

New HQ for Cuomo’s Favorite Charter

August 28, 2014

Diane Ravitch’s blog yesterday included a link to a New York Daily News article by Juan Gonzalez titled “Eva Moskowirz isn’t Just Backed by Wall Street, She’s Moving There”. Ms. Moskowitz is the CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools has been featured in many blog posts here as Andrew Cuomo’s favorite charter school magnate and the arch enemy of Mayor Bill diBlasio’s efforts to limit the privatization of public schools. This article illustrates everything that is wrong with privatization without mentioning the term at all. Here are some of the items that jumped out at me, bearing in mind that  Success Academy enrolls only 6700 students in 22 schools:

  • Her new office space on Wall Street will cost $31,000,000 over a 15 year period, more than four-fold increase over their Harlem rent.
  • Her headquarters have 58,000 square feet of office space
  • Her salary for 2012-13 was $567,000, “…a raise of $92,000 from the previous year, and more than double the $212,000 paid to Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña”.
  • The the size of her central staff doubled last year to 258
  • At least five officials at the nonprofit network… were paid more than $240,000 last year. The network’s Executive Vice President Kerri Hoyt…received a $104,000 raise, to $366,000. Its director of pedagogy Paul Fucaloro jumped by $100,000, to $246,000.
  • Ryan Alexander, the network’s former chief financial officer, was paid $350,000. Alexander does not appear in the financial report as a key employee, but Bikdata LLC, a firm he founded and which he operates out of his Tribeca loft apartment, was listed as the network’s biggest outside vendor for “financial consulting services.”
  • And finally, this: “Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature responded with a new law requiring the city to pay rent for all future charter schools. As a result, the school system is spending $5.3 million this year to house the three new Success Academy schools in buildings owned by the Catholic Archdiocese.”

I cannot comprehend how taxpayers are accepting these administrative costs, these salaries, or the fact that their funds are going into the coffers of the Catholic Archdiocese. It is even harder to understand how the Governor of the State is allowing these funds to be drawn against the money the state is providing to NYC schools. It is possible that some will read this article and not understand how grossly overstaffed Moskowitz’ organization is, will not understand that the salaries she is paying are in excess of those earned by any public school administrator, and will not understand that providing public funding for an explicitly religious organization sets a dangerous precedent. Gonzalez made an effort to place some of these figures in context, but the statement by  Success Academy spokesperson Kerri Lyon that concludes the article is unchallenged. That statement, “Our salaries are consistent with those of other similarly sized nonprofits in New York City,” may be true for “non-profits”, but it is absolutely false for similarly sized public schools…. and 258 central office staff members for 6700 students? Try getting that into a budget that requires voter approval!


%d bloggers like this: