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Auditor general releases charter school report

By Rosa Duarte, Reporter, RDuarte@wfmz.com
Published On: May 12 2014 09:12:47 PM CDT
Updated On: May 12 2014 10:10:11 PM CDT

The chief financial officer of the state says the charter school law is in desperate need of an overhaul.

The chief financial officer of the state says the charter school law is in desperate need of an overhaul.

In a report released Monday, the Auditor General Eugene DePasquale lays out a series of recommendations on how to improve the accountability and transparency of charter schools.

DePasquale says lack of direction and oversight from the state and confusing provisions in reference to the 1997 Charter School Law are two of the common themes he found in public meetings throughout the state.

Thomas Lubben, founder of two charter schools in the Lehigh Valley says it all comes down to dollars.

“Charter schools in combination with private schools are accounting for 15 percent of the public school enrollment in cities like Easton, Allentown and Bethlehem in any business model that's a tipping point,” said Lubben.

The report highlights the need to reinstate the tuition reimbursement program for districts that have charter schools.

DePasquale recommends that cyber charter schools should receive direct funding from the state and not the district.

He also recommends the need for an independent oversight board which would supervise and act as the main resource for any charter-related issues.

“I think the oversight board is an excellent idea,” said Lubben. “It will concentrate the rule of oversight into one body, right now it's very unclear.”

A spokeswoman for DePasquale says a copy of the report was sent to legislators as well as the department of education.

For a complete copy of the charter school report, go to http://www.auditorgen.state.pa.us/Reports/school/csr/Charter_Report_051214_FINAL.pdf