Sunday, February 7, 2010

One difference between charter schools and regular public schools

It’s a sad tale – one we want to safeguard against when Kentucky sets up charter schools – but it looks like there were a lot of fiscal oversight foul-ups in Ohio prior to the demise of the Harte Crossroads schools in Columbus.

Important records for Harte simply don’t exist, and the possibility of criminal activity over a three-year period is under investigation.

Now, the Harte schools are closed – completely.

Meanwhile, let’s not overlook the fact that our public school fiscal accounting system in Kentucky is no rose, either.

Way back in December, 2006, the Legislative Research Commission issued Research Report No. 338.

It outlined a number of serious problems with the Kentucky’s MUNIS education financial accounting system that prevented accurate accounting in many areas of educational expenditures. Over three years later, the program still has not been fixed. We continue to be plagued with an information black hole when we badly need accurate “bang for the buck” information as our policymakers wrestle with some tough decisions about which education programs may need to be cut.

There have also been some fiscal improprieties in Kentucky’s public schools.

Targeted money has been misdirected.

Federal stimulus money has not been properly tracked.

No one could account for the true costs of our now defunct CATS system.

And, we regularly hear nagging reports of school personnel running off with money that should have been spent on kids.

Often, these scams went undetected for years, as well.

These sorts of things happen when fiscal controls are weak.

But, here’s the big difference. While nagging reports of fiscal impropriety keep surfacing in our schools, I’m not aware of any public school getting shut down for fiscal impropriety since KERA began.

In sharp contrast, the Harte system is gone – completely. A number of other charter schools that didn’t measure up are gone, as well.

So, ultimately, which type of school do you think has a demonstrated history of more accountability – charter or public?


Anonymous said...

Easily I agree but I about the collection should secure more info then it has.

Richard Innes said...

Anonymous Feb 7 at 9:22 AM

It looks like your comments came through garbled. Can you resubmit?