KIPP Destiny Elementary opened with little fanfare this August in a converted Mervyn's storefront across from Southwest Center Mall in Red Bird. The national charter school network, which already operates the KIPP Truth Academy middle school a few miles away, is saving that for Wednesday.
That's when tennis great Andre Agassi will join KIPP officials on campus for a tour/ribbon cutting/press extravaganza, touting the school as the latest project of Canyon-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund.
Until now, the role of Agassi's organization have been rather hush-hush. When their involvement became public last year during the zoning process, KIPP declined to address it.
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But now it's official: KIPP Destiny is one of the 80 to 100 charter school campuses CACFF plans to build nationwide over the next few years.
The organization operates on a unique model. It's basically a do-gooder investment fund, not a nonprofit, and it doesn't actually run any schools. It simply finances their design and construction, then hands over the keys to a charter operator ideally making a return for investors in the process.
At first blush, the notion that investors are directly profiting off public schools seems vaguely improper, but it's not that far removed from investing in a construction firm that scores contracts with a local school district. And Agassi's endeavor seems much less venal and much more effective than that of a certain other professional athlete educating kids in southern Dallas.
Currently, KIPP Destiny has 120 kindergarteners. It will add one grade level per year until it reaches 560 students in 2017.