Response to Report: Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud & Abuse
May 9, 2014Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse:
A recent report from Integrity in Education and the Center for Popular Democracy, Charter School Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse, examines national trends in charter school fraud, waste, and mismanagement across 15 states, including California.
Many of the recommendations put forth in the report aimed at addressing such allegations, are already in place in California law. In some instances, these recommendations go beyond what would typically apply to traditional California public school districts.
Furthermore, financial information is already required of charter public schools and must be made available under federal tax filings (Form 990) annual reports, which are available online, and can be obtained directly from any the nonprofit public benefit corporation, and in annual independent financial audits required by state law.
Every charter school in California is also required to have an annual independent audit, which must be submitted to the charter school authorizer in addition to annual budgets and financial statements. This requirement, while clear in California law, is not always required in other states.
CCSA's sponsored legislation will clarify the application of open meeting, conflict of interest, and public records laws. SB 1317 (Huff) recently passed out of the Senate Education Committee unanimously, with all committee members recognizing the need for clarity around application of governance and transparency laws for California's charter schools. CCSA believes this legislation is necessary to ensure accountability for charters and their authorizers.