New Report on Charter Schools Reveals Information Gaps and Lack of Oversight

A new report by the Center for Media and Democracy shows $1.7 million going to schools that never opened.

The Wisconsin-based Center for Media and Democracy has released a new study on charter schools. The research reveals large gaps in financial accountability throughout charters in a dozen states, including Michigan. According to the report, in 2011 and 2012, $3.7 million was earmarked for 25 potential Michigan charter schools that were never opened, and at least $1.7 went to the organizations backing those charters that never became reality. Lisa Graves, the executive director of the center, calls them “ghost schools.” She says based on the information obtained for the report, the lack of oversight for Michigan charters is a serious problem.

“You basically have a situation in which a number of charter advocates have been given positions of power in the federal agency, as well as in the state agencies, and they’re basically all telling each other that everything is fine.”

She says Michigan provided the least information of the dozen states included in the report. As of 2014, Michigan had 297 operating charter schools. The Michigan Department of Education says they followed all federal guidelines on the administration and use of grant funding for charters.