Thursday, May 8, 2014

NC charter schools highlighted in report on fraud and waste

Via Salon, we have a link to a new report co-authored by the Center for Popular Democracy and Integrity in Education that examines the lack of oversight of charter schools. The report looked at just 15 states, pulling news stories, criminal complaints, audits, and other sources.

The report "found fraud, waste and abuse cases totaling over $100 million in losses to taxpayers" and noted that, due to lack of oversight, “the fraud and mismanagement that has been uncovered thus far might be just the tip of the iceberg.”

Three NC charter schools are highlighted in the report:

On January 9, 2014, the North Carolina Board of Education approved the Roger Bacon Academy’s application to open a third charter school, despite evidence that the Academy’s two existing schools were the subject of an open investigation by the U.S. Department of Education. Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Edward Pruden, who has argued against approval for the third school, forwarded a letter from the US DOE confirming that an investigation was ongoing and denying his request for details about its focus. Pruden said that based on information received by his office, the investigation concerns attempts to improperly recruit students in order to boost enrollment records and state funding at one of Roger Bacon’s campuses, Charter Day School. Roger Bacon Academy head Baker Mitchell has denied knowledge of any investigation. Pruden and others have raised concerns about a potential conflict of interest in Mitchell’s position on the state Charter School Advisory Board, though the Board of Education has said his appointment to the board was legal.