08/13 - Charter school board rapped - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

08/13 - Charter school board rapped

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Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2003 9:23 am | Updated: 2:04 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The state board charged with overseeing Arizona’s public charter schools is doing an inadequate job of monitoring those schools, according to a state audit released Tuesday.

But the report by the Arizona Auditor General’s Office also finds that the Arizona Board for Charter Schools has started making changes that will improve that process.

"We found, generally speaking, it validated what we’re doing," said board president Onnie Shekerjian.

Dale Chapman, performance audit manager for the auditor general’s office, said he could not characterize the audit as good or bad.

"We did note areas where the charter board can improve," Chapman said. "But we also pointed out areas where they have improved or started working on improving."

The audit contained three major findings:

• The charter board should implement systematic monitoring. "Its current approach . . . is ineffective because some schools may not be visited, the reviews that do occur are often incomplete, and followup on identified problems is inadequate."

• The board should continue its efforts to thoroughly review schools’ finances. "Charter school closures are often due to financial difficulties, creating educational upheaval for parents and students."

• The board needs additional disciplinary authority. Currently, the board can only discipline charters by withholding 10 percent of the school’s funding or revoking the charter.

The charter board disagreed with some findings. For example, Shekerjian said, auditors said the board should do a better job of documenting charter schools’ compliance with special education laws.

"That’s the education department’s job," Shekerjian said. "It’s our job when no progress has been made to issue a sanction."

The audit is a "sunset" review of the charter board. Legislation will have to be passed next session if the charter board is to continue, said Kristen Jordison, executive director.

MORE ONLINE

To view the audit of the Arizona Board for Charter Schools, go to

www.auditorgen.state.az.us.

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