By Jay Eshelman
The independent Compass School in Westminster, Vermont, is under attack by the Vermont State Board of Education (SBOE) for having failed to file its IRS nonprofit 990 forms for a three-year period in a timely fashion. Never mind that the school is financially solvent, that it has already filed its missing 990 forms, and that it is in full IRS compliance. These are points not emphasized in a recent VT Digger article on the subject.
Why, for example, does the SBOE not make the same observation of the many elected public school boards replete with conflicted memberships? From retired teachers to activist parents, few, if any, in my experience as a former school board member, have financial management experience. They are beholden to unions, supervisory district administrators, the SBOE and the Vermont School Boards Association, elected or appointed by a tyranny of the majority, enabled by the financial pandering of these public education special interest groups.
Why this targeted scrutiny?
The Compass School successfully competes at a cost to taxpayers 25 percent below the cost of the local public high school. Independent schools, like Compass, are the light at the end of the public education tunnel. The SBOE recognizes the success of any independent school as a threat to its public-school fiefdom. This so-called “review” of an independent school already in full IRS conformance, is a case in point.
If only public schools were managed as well.
Jay Eshelman is a former school board director and business owner living in Vermont.