The United States is the only country in the world where the Gülen movement has been able to establish schools funded to a great extent by the host country's taxpayers, mostly by establishing charter schools. In June 2011, New York Times shed light on schools in the United States, revealing that "Gulen followers have been involved in starting similar schools around the country — there are about 120 in all, mostly in urban centers in 25 states, one of the largest collections of charter schools in America."
Federal authorities are investigating several of the movement's schools for forcing employees to send part of their paychecks to Turkey. In March 2011, Philadelphia Enquirer reported that Federal Agencies including "FBI and the Departments of Labor and Education - were investigating whether some employees were kicking back part of their salaries to a Muslim movement founded by Gulen known as Hizmet."
The FBI has investigated Concept Schools, which operate 16 Horizon Science Academies across Ohio, on the suspicion that they illegally used taxpayer money to pay immigration and legal fees for people they never even employed, an Ohio ABC affiliate discovered. The FBI's suspicion was confirmed by state auditors. Concept Schools repaid the fees for their Cleveland and Toledo schools shortly before the ABC story broke, but it's unclear whether they have repaid—or can repay—the fees for their other schools. In December 2013, the FBI raided another Gülen-linked charter school, Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School, located in Louisiana. The investigation, initially for tax-related purposes, led to the discovery of a business link between the school and Harmony Public Schools, another Gülen-linked charter school district based in Texas that makes up the state's largest charter operator.
Some commentators argue that schools are simply moneymakers for the Gülen movement and are the main avenue for building the Gülen community in the United States. In the United States, they obtain a substantial amount of private, state, and federal funding (in addition to tuition fees), and they have proved effective at soliciting private donations.
Two schools, located in Texas, have been accused of sending school funds—which are supplied by the government—to Gülen-inspired organizations. Last year, The New York Times reported that the some schools were funneling some $50 million in public funds to a network of Turkish construction companies, among them the Gülen-related Atlas Texas Construction and Trading. The schools had hired Atlas to do construction, the paper said, though other bidders claimed in lawsuits that they had submitted more economical bids. Folwell Dunbar, an official at the Louisiana Department of Education, has accused Atlas's vice president, Inci Akpinar, of offering him a $25,000 bribe to keep mum about troubling conditions at the Abramson Science and Technology School in New Orleans. Dunbar sent a memo to department colleagues, the Times-Picayune reported, noting that "Akpinar flattered him with 'a number of compliments' before getting to the point: 'I have twenty-five thousand dollars to fix this problem: twenty thousand for you and five for me.' " Abramson is operated by the Pelican Foundation, which is linked to the Gülen-inspired Cosmos Foundation in Texas—which runs the two Texas schools.
Utah's Beehive Science and Technology Academy was $337,000 in debt, according to a financial probe by the Utah Schools Charter Board. The Deseret News tried to figure out where all this taxpayer money had gone. "In a time of teacher layoffs, Beehive has recruited a high percentage of teachers from overseas, mainly Turkey," the newspaper reported. "Many of these teachers had little or no teaching experience before they came to the United States. Some of them are still not certified to teach in Utah. The school spent more than $53,000 on immigration fees for foreigners in five years. During the same time, administrators spent less than $100,000 on textbooks, according to state records." Reports have also claimed that the school board was almost entirely Turkish.
It also seems weird in that M is really, REALLY into art and the school they recommended has absolutely no art program.
my initial impression is that the counselor may make some extra cash on referrals...
Yes, they are funding the charter schools, as part of the effort to defund public schools.
Charter schools are publicly funded, and are required to provide the same resources for special needs kids that the normal independent school districts do.
Hmmmm. Not really. They can typically skim off most disabled kids or steer them back to traditional school by citing lack of resources.
In part, it’s the tax code that makes charter schools so lucrative: Under the federal “New Markets Tax Credit” program that became law toward the end of the Clinton presidency, firms that invest in charters and other projects located in “underserved” areas can collect a generous tax credit — up to 39% — to offset their costs.
So attractive is the math, according to a 2010 article by Juan Gonzalez in the New York Daily News, “that a lender who uses it can almost double his money in seven years.”