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Two organizations–In the Public Interest and the Center for Popular Democracy–have proposedthat 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