Texas charter schools (incorrect attendance reports)

AUSTIN – Texas charter schools have reaped $26 million in undeserved state money by filing incorrect student attendance reports, according to state financial records.

The Texas Education Agency, which oversees public education in the state, is working to recover $17 million of the $26 million from nearly half of the charters now operating in Texas. TEA records show that 20 schools went out of business before the state could recover its money, leaving taxpayers holding a $9 million bag of debt.

These charters collected state funds either by inflating the number of students in their classrooms or by making accounting mistakes…

TEA officials say they look for suspicious attendance figures at charters, but their regulatory system relies on self-reporting from the schools. TEA puts monitors at schools only after serious problems have been identified.

The current $26 million debt comes from 93 of the 211 charter operators in Texas. The amount equals the average state funding for about 4,800 students at roughly $5,400 per student…

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