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Unformatted text preview: ichigan, schools operated by private management
contractors may be exempted from important aspects of uniform financial reporting that
are normally required of public schools.
§ Except in Milwaukee, all charter schools are subject to an independent financial audit
either on its own or as an entity of a school district. The lack of uniformity and detail in
independent financial audits, however, seriously limits their usefulness for many aspects of
financial accountability. (See Table 18.)
§ Charter schools may acquire debt in all states except Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico and
Wisconsin—states where school districts charter schools and generally provide facilities.
(See Table 19.)
§ The disposition of assets of closed charter schools represents an issue not clearly
addressed in many charter school laws. Four states do not allow charter schools to own
assets. In nine states, assets revert to the school district or to the state. In the remaining
states, assets disposition is left to the charter school’s governing board. In most states,
management companies will probably be allowed to keep assets that had been used to
operate the closed charter school. (See Table 21.)
§ Charter schools must participate in the state teacher retirement system in 12 states, and
participation exceeds 75 percent in all remaining states except Arizona, the District of
Columbia, Florida, Michigan and North Carolina. (See Tables 24 and 25.) 6 Introduction CHAPTER 1 Introduction
Charter school legislation seeks to grant greater fiscal and educational autonomy to schools
in exchange for greater accountability for student achievement. Charter school concepts
also include empowering teachers or parents within schools, decentralizing and
redemocratizing local education, reinvigorating community structures and creating
competitive institutions that will bring market forces to bear on other public schools.
The survival and health of the charter school movement, however, may be determined
more by questions about financing than by issues of autonomy or student achievement.
More charter schools have failed for financial reasons than academic ones. Funding partly
determines who wants charters, who gets charters and what charter schools do. Inadequate
resources wound charter schools in the competition to succeed, but if charter schools are
funded too well compared to other public schools, competition with other public schools
can also be viewed as unfair. If the market model becomes the dominant paradigm for
charter schools, then charter schools and school districts need to follow the same rules
(Arsen, Plank and Sykes, 1999).
Most research reveals that the charter school community believes that financing represents
the greatest obstacle to their success. Each year, the report of the National Study of Charter
Schools (RPP, 1997, 1998, 1999,2000), commissioned by the U.S. Department of
Education, has found that three of the top four significant barriers charter schools reported
facing all relate to finances: lack of start-up funds, inadequate operating funds, and
inadequate facilities. A Hudson Institute study (Finn, et al., 1...
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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.
- Spring '09