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The Ultimate in Charter School Self-Dealing: AZ Taxpayers Pay Twice for Same Schools, For-Profit Owner Reaps Before, During, and After Sale

September 13, 2018

Arizona’s charter school laws allow for the most self-dealing that I am aware of in states with charter schools.

Consider this situation as reported in the September 10, 2018, AZCentral: Arizona for-profit charter school chain owner, Eddie Farnsworth, is allowed to sell his charters to a non-profit that he apparently had the idea of forming (he asked three friends to comprise the board). The state agreed to allow the sale, so what will basically happen is that Arizona taxpayers will pay twice for the same schools, having funded the chain when it was a for-profit and now funding the sale of the for-profit chain to the owner-created nonprofit.

Farnsworth stands to make as much as $30M from the sale.

But there’s more:

The newly-created non-profit has *tentatively* agreed to contract with Farnsworth for services after the sale. From the AZCentral article:

Records submitted to the Charter Board appeared to show Farnsworth had already been hired to manage the schools, but he said the document was a “draft” intended to give board members an understanding of the management contract.

Keep in mind that the nonprofit board is comprised of friends Farnsworth recruited.

And there’s more, still:

Farnsworth is an Arizona legislator on a legislature that promotes such fantastic self-dealing, as AZCentral notes:

The Legislature, of which Farnsworth is a member, does not require charters to follow the procurement and conflict-of-interest laws that district schools are bound by.

Farnsworth, who is leaving the House and running for the state Senate because of term limits, joined other Republicans at the Legislature this past session in blocking  Democrats’ efforts to require charter schools be more transparent about their finances. He also supported an amendment to the budget that ensured charter schools wouldn’t be subject to new, strict procurement and gift laws imposed on district schools.

It’s all legal, folks, because profiteers like Farnsworth are also the lawmakers.

And what does Farnsworth have to say about it?

“I make no apologies for being successful.”

No apologies for being a successful school choice self-dealer.



For more on Arizona charter schools, see the following posts:


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

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

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.

both books

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

One Comment
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Charter schools are financial windfalls for people who are entrepreneurs and without a moral center.

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