Responding to this week’s cover story about the charter school chain he runs, Frank Biden continues to insist Mavericks in Education Florida is not profiting from its schools. He says it’s just the school buildings that bring in the dough.
“We’re not profiting from our schools. Anybody with half a brain can figure that out,” he says. “We remain sustainable as a result of our accurate and predictable location and our buildings.”
Mavericks opens schools in poor neighborhoods, where property values are cheap. Then it charges the schools rent of $350,000 per year for five years, regardless of the price of the building. (Read more about the real estate deals here). But don’t call it profiting!
Meanwhile, the vice president’s brother also cleared up a mystery about a federal tax lien filed against him in Kentucky. The $32,500 in unpaid income taxes are from 2003 to 2005, a time when Biden says he was still struggling with alcohol addiction. Now, he says, he pays off the debt in monthly installments. “That will be paid within a year,” he says.
As for the academics at Mavericks charter high schools, Biden says students are not just sitting in front of computers all day. They also receive some traditional classroom instruction — for roughly an hour a day, according to Liz Downey, the school secretary at Mavericks High in Palm Springs. For the next three hours, students sit at computers taking online courses, while their teachers are on hand to answer questions. Students can also receive some one-on-one tutoring.
“[We're] trying to get these kids across the finish line,” Biden says. “We’re not perfect, but we’re pretty good. We hope to get better.”
Finally, Biden insists Mavericks’ legal fight with former CEO Mark Thimmig was recently settled. However, Broward court records indicate the case is still pending. The last docket entry says the case was referred to mediation in late November.