Like many public schools, Ithaca Public Schools thought they saw a way to compete with on-line charter schools, and make some easy money in the process. Instead, they created a $1 million budget hole.
As reported in Mt. Pleasant’s Morning Sun, Ithaca hired an on-line school to create a cyber school of their own.
[Ithaca Schools hired] Alma-based Michigan Educational Partnerships to run the district’s iSchool, paying 90 percent of per-pupil funding to the company, or about $900,000 of the $1 million the district is now required to pay back.
This doesn’t include the legal fees the district has incurred and will continue to rack up as it attempts to avoid these payments or collect them from MEP.
All of this resulted from the Michigan Department of Education’s determination that the district couldn’t offer these classes, as they had “insufficient teacher and student interaction.”
Ithaca’s not alone. Vasser Public Schools made the same mistake.