deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

Migrant-Child Shelter Operator, Southwest Key, Also Runs a Charter School (or Two)

Southwest Key is a nonprofit that operates several of the detention centers for children of the migrants who are currently the focus of the news for their being forcefully removed from their parents as part of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance policy.”

Even though on June 20, 2018, Trump signed an executive order to reverse the forceful removal of migrant children from their parents, Trump’s order does nothing for the children currently in custody and housed in places like Southwest Key. There is also some question about Trump’s order facing problems if a migrant family’s case is not processed within the federally-required, 20-day limit.

There’s a lot of money to be made in operating a nonprofit that holds migrant children. In 2015-16, Sanchez was paid $786,822 in total compensation.  In 2016-17, Sanchez’s salary almost doubled, to $1.48M in total compensation. ($600K is listed as “base compensation”; $400K is “bonus compensation,” and $457K is listed as “other compensation,” with no explanation as to what “other” means.)

Southwest Key facility in Brownsville, TX; building formerly a Walmart

According to Southwest Key’s 2015-16 tax form, its “unaccompanied minors programs… serve youth who enter the United States without parents or adult guardians and have been detained by immigration officials.”

Now that the Trump administration started separating migrant children en masse from their parents, Southwest Key will certainly increase the amount of government money it takes in. Government money is Southwest Key’s primary revenue source; in 2015-16, government grants comprised $240M out of $242.5M in Southwest Key’s total revenue, which was up from $159M in 2014-15.

Southwest Key does not have its 2016-17 tax form available to the public. However, Southwest Key operates a charter school (which happens to share the same Austin, TX, address as Southwest Key, even though Google has the buidings as neighbors), The East Austin Academia, Inc., DBA (doing business as) East Austin College Prep. The charter school has filed its 2016-17 tax form, and on that form, Sanchez’s $1.48M salary “from related organizations” was listed.

East Austin Academia/College Prep, 5909 Jain Lane according to Google


Southwest Key headquarters, 6002 Jain Lane

Sanchez sits on the charter school board as its secretary; Southwest Key’s VP, Alexia Rodriguez, who was paid $596K in total compensation from Southwest Key in 2016-17, sits on the charter school board as board chair.

Even though East Austin Academia shares the same address on its tax form as Southwest Key (6002 Jain Lane, Austin, TX  78721), the charter school is paying three entities with the same, 6002 Jain Lane address, as “independent contractors” for services to the charter school:

Further in the tax form, the above disbursements are identified as being paid to “related organizations.”

In 2016-17, East Austin Academia received $8M in government money, representing almost all of its $8.16M in total revenue.

The school’s web link for “school scores and policies” includes numerous links, all for 2013-14. The most recent info from its “school finance” page is from 2016-17. The most recent info from its “campus federal report card” is also from 2016-17, which could be expected given that the 2017-18 school year is just ending. Many scores are below state average. Even so, East Austin Academia’s (DBA East Austin College Prep) has the following model and philosophy:

For too long children growing up in East Austin have been expected to settle in their educational and professional aspirations. At East Austin College Prep, we create a positive, nurturing atmosphere of high expectations with a results-driven bottom line: 100% of our students will go to college. Period.

EAPrep doesn’t just get students excited to attend college. It prepares them with the academic and social skills necessary to survive in the university environment and beyond. That means a strong foundation in math and science and a comprehensive extracurricular program that includes visual and performing arts, as well as athletics.

And our students won’t just go to college for themselves. Here, community service projects are part of the curriculum. After all, from the beginning, the mission of EAPrep has been to grow a better East Austin, one student at a time.

Though East Austin College Prep offers no evidence to support its claim of 100% college acceptance, it repeats this claim on its model and philosophy page:

What Sets Us Apart

  • Extended school day
  • Staff on-call until 9:00 pm
  • 6 week summer session
  • College prep curriculum based on award-winning model
  • Small classes with individualized instruction
  • Free after-school programs on campus daily
  • Service learning component
  • Model health program for families
  • Parental and community involvement
  • College-bound graduates!
  • 100% college acceptance

Prospective students are invited to schedule a tour at the Jain Lane address or at an MLK Blvd address:

Call to schedule a tour: 
EAPrep’s Elementary Campus (Grades Pre-K – 5)
6002 Jain Lane
Austin, Texas 78721

EAPrep’s Secondary Campus (Grades 6 – 12)
5800 E. MLK Blvd
Austin, Texas 78721

East Austin College Prep

The MLK campus is not mentioned on the East Austin Academia/College Prep 2016-17 tax form.

Sanchez must be branching out.

Juan Sanchez, Southwest Key CEO


Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.