Thursday, December 12, 2019


Still Asleep at the Wheel - Network For Public Education


Still Asleep at the Wheel continues our investigation of the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) that began with our March 2019 report, which you can find here. The Charter Schools Program has spent more than $4.1 billion dollars to fund new charter schools and to expand existing charter schools. In this report, we document over a half-billion dollars that was wasted on defunct charter schools that received grants from 2006-2014 alone. There is no data for granted money from 1995-2005. That is because the Department did not require the states to report to which schools they gave over a million dollars of taxpayer funds. Given that 28% of all of the funds spent during those select years (2006-2014) were wasted, we conclude that over $1 billion has been wasted during the 25 years that the program has been in existence.
According to our analysis, 37% of the charter schools that were funded by CSP during those years either never opened (11%) or opened and then closed (26%). That figure is the result of our confirmation of the status of nearly 5000 charter schools that received funds from CSP.
The interactive map below provides detailed information, state by state, on the waste of federal tax dollars from active CSP grants between 2006-2014. Amounts are derived from the 2015 CSP report and thus reflect actual expenditures and/or committed amounts when the report was published. For more detail, please read our report.
California Charters

Eight hundred two California charter schools were awarded grants through the U.S. Department of Education’s (U.S. DOE) Charter Schools Program (CSP) from money that the U.S. DOE gave to the states between 2006-2014. At this time, at least 298 (37%) of those charter schools were closed or never opened at all.

To determine that number, we compared the U.S. DOE CSP award data set which you can
find here to the California Department of Education (CDE) list of 699 closed charter schools
which you can find here. Next, we reviewed all schools that the CSP data set reported as having no NCES number and compared those school names with the CDE’s list of charter schools using the quick search function. From that comparison, we determined that 60 schools never opened at all (or opened and closed on the same day).

In total, $102,879,832.00 were awarded to California charter schools during those years that either never opened or shut down. And yet, in 2016 the U.S. DOE awarded the CDOE an additional $49,899,243.00.

The chart below shows the names of all of the closed California charter schools that received CSP grants between 2006-2014. Those highlighted in maroon are charters that opened and closed. The rest are grant recipient schools that never opened. The federal grant amount is to the right of the school's name. CLICK HERE TO SEE CHART 

Still Asleep at the Wheel - Network For Public Education

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