WASHINGTON, D.C. - The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools today released the following statement in response to the Department of Education's Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, Nationwide Assessment of Charter and Education Management Organizations:
"We take seriously any concerns about the stewardship of federal funds, especially those targeted to disadvantaged students and underserved communities. Financial mismanagement should not be tolerated in district or charter public schools. We look forward to further reviewing the findings and recommendations of the OIG audit of 33 schools, and to working with the appropriate bodies, including the U.S. Department of Education (ED), to seek solutions that benefit students.
"It is important to note that many non-profit charter management organizations (CMOs) have some of the strongest outcomes for low-income students, and some of the highest performing charter schools in the country come from CMO networks. Stanford University's Center for Research and Education Outcomes found that students who attend schools belonging to CMOs funded by the Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF), for example, experience math growth which is significantly higher than district public school students and reading growth that is stronger than district students. We stand by the learning gains that high-quality CMOs are helping their students achieve.
"In terms of advice for policymakers, it is unfortunate that the report makes no distinction between non-profit CMOs and for-profit education management organizations (EMOs) organizations with very different structures both in federal and state law, as well as school operations.
"Ensuring that funds flow responsibly from grants to charter school students is an area of ongoing commitment. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools model charter school law requires a transparent performance contract between an independent public charter school and its educational service provider (ESP). The terms of the ESP performance contract must be approved by the authorizer prior to charter approval, helping to ensure that material items ranging from methods of contract oversight and enforcement by the charter school board to compensation structure and all fees to be paid to the ESP, are transparent and fully understood by overseeing bodies.
"To this end, we look forward to working with Governors and state legislatures to add these provisions in their laws, as they would greatly enhance transparency at all levels. We also encourage ED to work more closely with State and Local Education Agencies to ensure that additional paperwork and monitoring leads to better oversight rather than additional bureaucracy and to ensure that charter school students ultimately receive their equitable share of funding."
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.