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75% of LeBron James’ ‘Charity School’ Paid by Taxpayers

In what’s got to be the most random Trump feud I can imagine, the President sent out a mocking tweet directed at basketball player LeBron James.

It seemed out of place, because of all Trump’s tweets directed at Lebron in the past were favorable:

The criticism was seemingly unprovoked but probably had to do with the contents of that CNN interview. “He’s dividing us,” James said to Lemon, of Donald Trump. “And what I’ve noticed over the past few months [is] he’s kind of used sport to kind of divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white, and I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got an opportunity to learn about me, and we became very good friends.”

James responded to Trump’s criticism without mentioning Trump, and instead decided to use the opportunity to draw attention to a charitable project he’s working on, his new “Promise School” in Akron. The elementary school would provide the following to students (nearly all of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds):

  • Free tuition
  • Free uniforms
  • Free breakfast, lunch and snacks
  • Free transportation within 2 miles
  • A free bicycle and helmet
  • Access to a food pantry for their family
  • Guaranteed tuition for all graduates to the University of Akron

An endeavor worth celebrating, no doubt. But it needs a disclaimer: that it’s not entirely funded by LeBron, which is an impression that most (myself included) had.

According to Cleveland.com, “it’s [LeBron’s school] also a public school within the Akron school district, which means that taxpayers will pay for the bulk of the costs.
The exact breakdown of expenses for the new I Promise School is unclear, since the district and the LeBron James Family Foundation are still sorting out final details of their contract. But the district will pay more than half the costs – perhaps around 75 percent – once it is fully running.”

LeBron’s foundation is spending $2 million towards the school’s first year, and an additional $2 million a year after the school has grown to capacity. As you can glean from the “75%” stat above, the school is estimated to cost $8 million to operate each year. The school is owned by the local district, which is in charge of hiring teachers and administrators.

While we can only commend LeBron for his charitable efforts, the media is far overstating his role in this project. The school isn’t “LeBron’s school,” – it’s a school branded and partially funded by him. And on that note, let’s give the American taxpayer some recognition too!

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