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Landmark Look at US Charter System Reveals Waste, Fraud, ‘Ghost Schools’

(COMMON DREAMS) Deirdre Fulton, October 25, 2015 — A year-long investigation by the Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy has revealed a severe dearth of public information about how federal and state taxes are being spent to fuel the charter school industry in the U.S.

“Unlike truly public schools that have to account for prospective and past spending in public budgets provided to democratically elected school boards, charter spending of tax monies is too often a black hole.” —Center for Media and Democracy

According to the report released Wednesday—Charter School Black Hole (pdf)—no one even knew how much the federal government had spent on its program designed to boost the charter sector until CMD started poking around. Now, after filing close to 50 open records requests and reviewing more than two decades of federal authorizations and appropriations, the national watchdog group has calculated that sum to be a whopping $3.7 billion.

Furthermore, how those billions were spent was equally difficult to discern.

“What is even more troubling is how difficult it is to find essential information on how some charters have spent federal and state tax dollars, even as governments continue to increase funding for charters while slashing funds for traditional public schools,” reads the report. “Unlike truly public schools that have to account for prospective and past spending in public budgets provided to democratically elected school boards, charter spending of tax monies is too often a black hole.”

Source: Landmark Look at US Charter System Reveals Waste, Fraud, ‘Ghost Schools’ | Common Dreams | Breaking News & Views for the Progressive Community