by Gary Snyder
Monday, June 16, 2014
Much At Stake With Charter School Legislation
by Gary Snyder
Since some charter schools are not disclosing that they are entering contracts with related parties which may or not be fair and failing to disclose conflicts of interest to the school’s board of directors apparent fraud has resulted.
Because the D.C. attorney general has accused charter school leaders of schemes to divert millions of tax dollars to private companies they owned, the D.C. Public Charter School Board is seeking legislative changes that would give it greater authority to examine the records of some of the organizations that manage the city’s charter schools.
The charter board also is looking to tighten standards that charter schools must meet to sign contracts with “related parties,” such as school founders, school employees, members of the board of directors and their relatives.
While the move indicates that the charter board wants more transparency, it also shows that city officials often don’t know how management companies are spending tax money that is meant for students’ benefit.
The D.C. attorney general in October sued three former managers of Options Public Charter School for allegedly funneling more than $3 million from the school to two for-profit companies they owned. In May, the attorney general sued the founder of another charter school, Community Academy, alleging that he enriched himself by creating a shell management company that was paid more than $13 million in taxpayer dollars for work largely performed by school employees. This month, The D.C. Attorney General filed a lawsuit alleging that the founder of a D.C. public charter school diverted millions of dollars to a for-profit company he owns.
This in spite that the charter board had given a clean bill of financial health to both schools in June 2013, finding “no patterns of fiscal mismanagement” at either, according to a charter board report. (source)
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