LeBron James has been universally celebrated as some kind of a superhero lately.
No, it’s not because of his unlikely journey of putting the Cleveland Cavaliers on his back and single handedly carrying them to another NBA Finals with a marginally talented roster. It’s because the superstar opened a school in Akron, Ohio for at-risk children that had everyone in awe.
But a damaging new report shows that James isn’t necessarily as philanthropic as most people initially thought.
LeBron James’ new school for 2nd and 3rd graders, called “I Promise,” will pay for at-risk youths to attend the school for free, receive free food, free school supplies and bikes, and will pay for their college education if they do well in school.
Initial figures concluded that James would pay upwards of about $8.1 million for the school, but others claimed the school’s necessary funding would be upwards of almost $50 million. James’ foundation said they would pay for every dime of the new state-of-the-art school.
It’s an amazing move by any standards.
That is until you realize that James will not be paying for the entire costs for “I Promise.”
According to Cleveland.com, “The exact breakdown of expenses for the new I Promise School is unclear… But the district will pay more than half the costs — perhaps around 75 percent — once it is fully running.”
What was perceived to be a total funding by his foundation is actually going to be city-operated by Akron public schools.
It’s city-owned with city employees, and taxpayers will fund at least fifty percent of it.
City-owned with city employees
Akron school district spokesman Mark Williamson told the media, “The coverage made it look like the whole thing is his. He did a lot, but taxpayers should know it’s their investment too.”
Also, that $8.1 million figure seems to be concocted out of thin air. In July, Money reported that his foundation put together a meager $2 million for building upgrades, extra staffing, and other needs.
That $2 million covers only a quarter of the estimated$8 million in costs.
And if LeBron James decides to drag his feet on ponying up the cash, then it would be on the Akron taxpayers to make up the difference.
That’s not very “superhero-esque”.
That’s not very “superhero-esque”
Yet, he’s being hailed as some educational savant, and there is actually a petition circling the internet for him to replace Betsy DeVos as Secretary of the Department of Education.
As of Thursday afternoon, more than 12,000 people had signed the appeal, which was started by user Rebecca G. It will be sent to President Trump once it has increased to a grand total of 25,000 people.
The petition read, “Unfortunately, Trump and his cronies chose Betsy DeVos for us and we are stuck with an uncaring Education Chief who has fought against teachers and has even expressed disdain for the very department she heads … at least until now. LeBron James is an inspiration to kids all over the country. He’s shown he cares about America’s youth and understands the power of public education in helping children meet their true potential.”
And James said during the highly publicized event during the school’s opening, “The most important thing we can give them is structure. They just want to feel like we care. They have the dreams, they have the aspirations. They just want to know someone cares.”
But it looks like Lebron James is forcing Akron’s taxpayers to care for these kids as well.
The media is to blame for the optics involved with making it seem like this was a totally self-funded project,and James never cut them off to say that taxpayers would be helping out as well.
And that’s probably because he wants all the glory to himself.