"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Charter School Crime and Corruption Blotter

Let's see, down in Florida, the State Senate is trying to enact some accountability measures for the 358 charter schools that drain off a half-billion dollars a year in public education funds:
. . . .Gaetz said the proposals were spurred by a series of Orlando Sentinel articles published earlier this year in which the newspaper found that 43 percent of the state's charters went ungraded -- a number that remains constant today. In Florida, where grades are used to target public schools needing improvement, the ungraded charters often have avoided sanctions designed to boost their performance.

Only about 20 percent of traditional public schools go ungraded.

On financial matters, the newspaper found that more than half of charters had a deficit during the 2005 budget year. About a quarter could not cover their expenses. At nearly half the schools, board members and employees had business dealings with their charters, such as school officials leasing buildings to the charter. Nearly one in 10 spent more on administration than the classroom. . . . .
And over in DC, former charter kingpin, Brenda Belton, got her orange jumpsuit yesterday as her 3 year prize for stealing $800,000 from the children of DC:

A former District of Columbia charter school executive has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for stealing more than $800,000 earmarked for students.

Brenda Belton was responsible for monitoring 17 charter schools for Washington’s board of education from 2003 to 2006. . . .

And out in Ohio, the state is looking for $2.55 million handed over to start 33 charters that never opened:

Ohio charter school operators were given $2.55 million in state and federal planning grants to start 33 schools that were never opened _ nearly 10 percent of the 352 grants that have been issued by the state, state records showed.

The $2.55 million doesn't include planning funds given to schools that opened and later closed, The Columbus Dispatch reported on Sunday.

The Ohio Department of Education is trying to recover $1.56 million from 19 schools that either misspent start-up grants or were unable to document how the money was spent, the newspaper said. About $3,600 has so far been repaid. . . .

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