Jonathan Hage started Charter Schools USA in 1997 with $5,000 in borrowed money. Today, the company has grown dramatically with revenues of $285 million in 2012, coming almost entirely from taxpayers. Hage is clear about the nature of his business, describing his entre into charter school operations as “a classic business opportunity…lots of demand and very little supply.”
Hage is well connected in Florida politics. He worked for Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future and served on Governor Rick Scott’s education transition team after his election in 2010. Charter Schools USA sent 2,000 employees to hear a pep talk from Michelle Rhee and bused students, carrying signs, to an event supporting Scott.
Despite having a politically connected leader and a steady stream of tax dollars, Charter Schools USA has had serious problems relating to special needs students, a lack of local control, and financial mismanagement. See our Charter Schools USA corporate profile for details.