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

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Wall Street Accounting Practices in Main Street Charter Schools

While the new post-partisan ED putsch steamrolls across America with the Oligarchs driving this unfriendly corporate takeover of American schools, the evidence is already in on what happens when you offer corporations public education dollars with no oversight. When will Obamaites and Dumcan come to the realization that this could easily be a bigger scandal than the thievery that NCLB enabled? Where is the public commitment to public schools???? If 83% of Minnesota public schools had financial irregularities in the state audits, do you think that Sam Dillon or Maria Glod would not be all over it?? Damn!

Are those Eli Broad and Bill Gates political contributions really worth the total corruption of the American public school system? Even when the test scores aren't even any better??? And often worse?? ht to Sharon Higgins, from Minnesota Public Radio:

Report: Most charter schools mismanage finances

by Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
June 2, 2009

St. Paul, Minn. — The progressive think tank Minnesota 2020 has released a new study suggesting the majority of charter schools in the state do not follow basic financial guidelines and, in some cases, violate state law.

The study describes the charter school movement as "rife with mismanagement." It found financial irregularities in 121 of the state's 145 charter schools during an audit of the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2007.

The study, "Checking in on Charter Schools: An examination of Charter School Finances," was released at a press conference Tuesday morning in Minneapolis.

"Charter school directors cannot handle simple financial accounting practices, nor do many charter schools have an interest in allowing the public to be aware of their machinations," the report concluded.

The organizations said it reviewed financial audits of 145 charter schools for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2007. The reports were filed with the Minnesota Department of Education.

The report identified five charter schools among the biggest offenders. They included two Minneapolis schools: the Aurora Charter School, where 98 percent of the students are Hispanic, and Heart of the Earth Charter, a Native American school that closed last summer after its executive director, Joel Pourier, was accused of embezzling more than $1.3 million.

The report also identified the Recovery School of Southern Minnesota in Owatonna, the Duluth Public Schools Academy in Duluth, and the E.C.H.O. Charter School in Echo as having the most financial offenses in their 2007 audits.

Among other trends in charter schools around the state, according to the report:

  • 83 percent had at least one financial irregularity;
  • 29 percent did not comply with the law regarding board meeting minutes;
  • 55 percent had limited control of the school's funds;
  • 26 percent didn't have proper collateral for their bank deposit insurance;
  • 51 percent of those with problems identified on their 2007 financial audits had the same problems in the 2008 audits.

The study recommends the state reconsider renewing charters with schools that cannot successfully pass financial audits or provide board meetings minutes. It also suggests revoking charter with schools that have long-standing financial problems.

In a statement, the Minnesota Department of Education said both school districts and charter schools frequently have "findings" in the financial audits they submit to the state. Districts and charter schools are required to submit plans to the Education Department to correct their financial shortcomings, but the department said it's up to the local school districts and charter school boards to make sure corrective action is taken.

The think tank report follows a 2008 report by the state auditor which also raised questions about financial management at charter schools. In that report, the auditor's office recommended that charter school board members be required to attend financial management training. It also found that charters were roughly comparable to district schools in terms of financial health.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)


  1. It's so unfortunate that many of these studies will never make to Arny, and if they do, he will conveniently ignore them. Like Paige, he has is single vision of reform. We need someone more agile.

    I'm wondering about your thoughts on a national curriculum on math and reading. I know many Europeon countries have national programs in place and have done well with it. Or not?

  2. "We need someone more agile".

    Somehow, I feel the real issue is that we need someone who has ethics, morals and is an honest broker of ideas.

    We are not getting anything like that.

    As it is with so many difficult students in impacted urban schools, so it is
    with Duncan and his cronies:

    It is not a matter of "can or can't".

    It is a matter of "will or won't".

    And, they "won't".