The State Charter School Board needs to polish its practices to more effectively regulate Utah’s growing number of charter schools, according to a legislative audit released Thursday.
The number of charter schools in Utah has surged from 7 in 2001 to 76 this year with no increase in the charter board’s support staff at the Utah State Office of Education. In fact, the six-member staff has been cut to five.
The report highlights the board’s handling last year of financial struggles at Beehive Science and Technology Academy in Holladay. The board voted to revoke Beehive’s charter but later reversed that decision because of its own “ambiguous standards” for charter finances, the audit states.
The report recommends the board establish and apply clear financial standards for all charter schools. The board also needs to clarify procedures for disciplinary actions and school closures…
The audit also found the State Board of Education approved more loans to charter schools last year than is allowed by statute. The cap is set at $2 million, but the board awarded 21 loans totalling $3.8 million in the 2008-09 school year. The report recommends better tracking of loans and for the Legislature to clarify how loan money can be spent…
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Utah charter schools (inadequate oversight)
UTAH CHARTER SCHOOLS IN NEED OF GREATER OVERSIGHT, AUDIT SAYS, October 22, 2010, Salt Lake Tribune (UT)