Health - September 23, 2016

Auditor General releases report on state’s charter schools

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale recently released a report on the state’s Charter School Law and called for funding reform. Additional recommendations included improving accountability, effectiveness, and transparency.  

As a result of the audit it was also determined that the Pennsylvania Department of Education is handling challenges to charter school payments in an inconsistent manner. The report noted that during the five year audit period more than $1 billion in direct payments were made to charter schools and 82% of the payment appeals made by school districts were unresolved. That only accounted for $30.5 million of the total $1 billon that was paid out to charter schools.

Auditor General DePasquale has also criticized the Charter School Law itself; calling it the “worst in the nation.” Pointing in part to the way appeals are being mishandled, DePasquale noted that the law may favor charter schools over school districts in certain aspects, including when payments are made and appeals going unresolved. He has stated that perhaps it is time to reevaluate the way charter schools are funded in Pennsylvania and eliminate the Department’s middle man role.