March 21, 2022 2:02 pm

USA Today Exposes Charter School Abuse of Small Business PPP Funds

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If you have not yet read the USA Today story about charters abusing federal PPP loans, you should. You can find the story here.

In that story, reporter Craig Harris shows how charter schools, including some run by for-profits cashed in on federal dollars, meant for struggling small businesses. “America’s charter schools received at least a $1 billion windfall during the pandemic, an unneeded cash infusion for most from a federal program intended to bail out struggling small businesses, USA TODAY has found.”

Tell Congress, charters must pay that money back. Click here to send your email.

Shockingly, the spokesperson for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, which itself took over a half million in small business funds, even defends the for-profit Primavera taking federal money while having record profits.

“Rees, whose organization had its $680,182 loan forgiven, said she had no problem with Primavera, headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, paying millions in shareholder distributions while also having its loan forgiven.” But as Representative Judy Chu told Harris, “it was not the intent of the loan program for companies to give away millions of dollars to shareholders. It was to keep businesses afloat during this tough time. It was not to make a huge profit for CEOs or investors.”

Full disclosure. Although the Network for Public Education was eligible for PPP assistance and did see a decline in revenue due to COVID, we did not apply for PPP. We believed it would be immoral to take funds intended to keep parents employed while their workplace was closed.

Send your email to Congress and tell them to make charter schools pay those PPP loans back.

Meanwhile, a few weeks ago, without any public hearings or real public notice, the House passed the College Transparency Act (CTA), which would authorize the federal government to collect the personal information of every college student and track them through life, including their enrollment status, attendance, age, gender, disabilities, race, and status as a confined or incarcerated individual, and then combine this with other data from federal agencies, including the Defense Department, the IRS, and the Census Bureau. Soon this egregious bill will be voted on by the Senate.

Send your email in opposition by clicking here.

And don’t forget to join public school advocates and leaders from across the country at our 2022 conference in Philadelphia on April 30th-May 1st and learn how you can fight back.


If you are one of the nearly 300 advocates who are already registered, make sure you get your discounted hotel room here.

Learn from legislators, state superintendents, activists, teachers, and parents across the country about their successes and struggles to support public schools.

Listen to inspirational speakers like NPE’s Diane Ravitch and actor Little Steven.

Go here to see the schedule of the outstanding panels, along with the keynote speakers who will inspire all attendees. Our full schedule with the names of presenters will be published shortly.

We are committed to running a safe conference. Attendees are required to be vaccinated. All of the meeting rooms will provide ample space. And we will have both vegetarian and vegan meals provided on request.