Houston/ Politics & Govt
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Published on May 14, 2024
Texas Tax Dollars Allegedly Diverted to Out-of-State Charter Schools Founded by Houston Superintendent Mike MilesSource: Wikipedia/Larry D. Moore, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a recent report by FOX 26, it's been unveiled that funds amounting in the millions, earmarked for Texas' public schools, have wound up bolstering the accounts of out-of-state charter schools established by Mike Miles, a notable figure in Texan education. Miles, the current superintendent of the Houston Independent School District following his appointment by the Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath, reportedly diverted Texas education tax dollars to a network of charter schools he conceived before assuming the role.

The report further unravels that internal records along with findings from the school rating agency, School Digger, indicate the charter schools Miles founded in Colorado after his departure from the Dallas Independent School District in 2015 were met with challenges in performance, finances, and enrollment the three Colorado-based schools that are part of this uncovering have shown less than stellar performance and faced financial woes and dwindling student numbers. Spectrum News' investigative reporting, highlighted by Brett Shipp, exposed how the dire financial straits culminated in the closure of one such institution, Coperni 2, under the weight of $5 million in unpaid bond debt.

Alarm bells are ringing with further Spectrum News allegations that Texas' public school tax dollars might be replenishing the financial drought of these Colorado schools. It's reported that two hefty checks, surpassing $1 million each, were dispatched from a charter school in Odessa, Texas, straight to the offices of Third Future Schools in Aurora, Colorado. According to the records, the Texas charters operated by Miles sported a troubling $2.68 million deficit by the close of the 2023 school year, painting a grim financial portrait wherein over $10 million of the $25 million public tax dollars spent on these Texas schools went towards vague management and general expenses.

In a dramatic overlay, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, Ovidia Molina, didn't mince her words when she told Spectrum News, "The state of public education in Texas is dire." Reflecting on this fiscal fiasco she, alongside other experts like former Texas state Rep. Paul Colbert, stresses the need for formal investigations into the matter, especially given the questionable legality of such interstate financial arrangements.

State officials have been tight-lipped in the face of these allegations, as attempts to glean insight or obtain justifications from Miles or his associates at Third Future Schools have been met with silence or deflection. Echoing the concerned chorus, Spectrum News has repeatedly attempted to engage Mike Morath for comment on the matter, though there's been no response as of the last report.