Key Issues

Finance and Facilities

When the goal of making a profit competes with the goals of teaching and learning, there is a critical need for oversight of charter schools' finances and facilities.The problems range from related parties receiving excessive lease payments to "family affair" charter schools with several relatives on the payroll. Sometimes, the drive for rapid expansion and increased profits means that public funds intended to educate current students are spent instead on facilities intended for future students. This means at times that taxpayers in one state are financing school construction and renovation in another state. In short, because facilities and finance are often a source of significant profit, it is one of the main aspects of charter school operations that is more vulnerable to waste, fraud and abuse-- or more in need of better accountability.

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Ohio Supreme Court Reluctantly Rules in White Hat’s Favor

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled this week that all assets purchased by ten Ohio charter schools belongs to their former operator, White Hat Management. The schools all terminated their contracts with White Hat, which then demanded payment for facilities and equipment if the school wanted to keep the property. According to the contracts each school […] Read More »

Charter School in PA using facilities to funnel cash away from instruction

  |   Tags: Accountability, Finance and Facilities, Oversight, Public Control, Self-Dealing, Transparency

A recent article on outlines a few of the ways charter schools use facilities funding to divert public money. This includes expensive bond transactions, related party deals, and lining the pockets of consultants. As Rutgers education professor Bruce Baker put it: “public policy permits a bad deal for the public — one that essentially […] Read More »

Imagine Schools to Ohio: “See You in Court!”

When the Ohio Department of Education moved to close two imagine charters for “overall poor performance,” Imagine Schools responded like someone trying to get out of a speeding ticket: it’s suing the state for failing to close schools that perform even worse. As reported in the Akron Beacon Journal: The lawsuit alleges that the state […] Read More »