Venturesome Capital- State Charter School Finance Systems

Collecting data over time in a consistent format

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Unformatted text preview: t format allows policymakers and researchers to consider questions such as how do charter schools differ from other public schools, and are charter schools fairly funded? In California, for example, the absence of uniform financial reporting for charter schools hampers the efforts of charter school operators to verify persistent complaints about underfunding by school district authorities. All states collect school district data in a uniform format for student enrollment and finances. These data, which are available to the public, provide the foundation for financial accountability. Examples of these data-collection systems include the Program Cost Reports in Florida, Form B in Michigan, and the Public Education Information Management System (PEIMS) in Texas. In about half of the states, charter schools report financial data in a uniform format as if they were school districts. In other states, charter school finances are blended into school district uniform financial reporting. A few states have no uniform financial reporting requirements for charter schools, requiring only audited financial statements (see Table 18). The following table provides a breakdown. TABLE 17 Uniform Financial Reporting Required Yes No—Blended With District No Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts,2 Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas Alaska, Arizona,1 California, Colorado, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Wisconsin Georgia, 3 Illinois, Milwaukee, Rhode Island 1 District-authorized charter schools report to the school district, not the state. 2 Beginning in 1998-99. 3 Subject to the charter, school districts may require reporting. Some states, such as Florida, Massachusetts and Texas, have modified their uniform financial reporting specifically for charter schools. The modifications help address the contentions of many charter school administrators that state financial reporting requirements designed for school districts with full-time compliance staff are unduly burdensome for stand-alone charter schools. The states that do not require charter schools to complete state financial reporting forms generally include charter schools in the authorizing school district’s financial reports as a matter of practice or as part of the charter agreement. Charter schools in Michigan run by independent management companies do not have to comply with several parts of the state’s Freedom of Information Act, which has 63 Venturesome Capital: State Charter School Finance Systems sharply limited the usefulness of uniform financial reporting. (See discussion in Chapter 2.) Independent Audit Almost every public dollar going to a charter school is subject to an independent financial audit. The only exception is Milwaukee where no independent audit or uniform financial reporting is currently required. In a few states, charter schools are audited as a component of the school district, but like other district schools, charter schools may not be presented as separate entities. For the most part, standards developed by the ac...
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This note was uploaded on 02/11/2013 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '09 term at Harvard.

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