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Two organizations–In the Public Interest and the Center for Popular Democracy–have proposed reforms for charter school accountability that would remove the most frequent criticisms of charter schools.
They recommend an 11-point agenda that would strengthen oversight, transparency, and accountability. There are a few missing points that I would add, such as, capping the salary of charter school executives to be no higher than that of the local superintendent; prohibiting for-profit management of charter schools; and barring the use of taxpayer funds for political lobbying or campaign contributions.
The Charter School Accountability Agenda An 11-Point Program for Reform
- Require companies and organizations that manage charter schools to open board meetings to parents and the public, similar to public school board meetings.
- Require companies and organizations that manage charter schools to release to parents and the public how they spend taxpayer money, including their annual budgets and contracts.
- Require state officials to conduct regular audits of charter schools’ finances to detect fraud, waste or abuse of public funds.
Protect Neighborhood Schools
Protect Taxpayer Funds
• Before any new charter school is approved, conduct an analysis of the impact the school will have on neighborhood public schools.
• Ensure that neighborhood public schools do not lose funding when new charter schools open in their area.
- Require charter schools to return taxpayer money to the school district for any student that leaves the charter school to return to a neighborhood public school during the school year.
- Prohibit charter school board members and their immediate families from financially benefiting from their schools.
- Prohibit charter schools from spending taxpayer dollars on advertising or marketing.
- Stop the creation of new charter schools if state officials have not shown the ability to prevent fraud and mismanagement.
- Require all teachers who work in taxpayer funded schools, including neighborhood public schools and charter schools, to meet the same training and qualification requirements.
- Require charter schools to serve high-need students such as special education