Two charter-school stories of note: Wasted tax dollars and a look at what’s driving districts to partner with charters

Still Asleep at the WheelThe Network for Public Education this spring published an alarming report (Asleep at the Wheel) on federal grants for new charter schools–to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars–that ended up being misspent, wasted on closed or never-opened charters, or used for profiteering and fraud.

Now the Network has fine-tuned its stats with “Still Asleep at the Wheel” to show more specifically how much money was wasted–$505 million for charter schools that closed shortly after opening or never opened at all. The Washington Post summarizes the key findings:

“The overall rate of failed charter projects from 2006 to 2014 was 37 percent, with some states posting a much higher failure rate. In Iowa, for example, 11 charter schools received grants and 10 failed after receiving a total of $3.66 million. The failure rate exceeded 50 percent in a number of states, including Georgia, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland and Virginia. In California, 37 percent failed to open or stay open, after winning nearly $103 million in Charter School Program funding.”

Meanwhile in Dallas ISD, school officials have decided to halt plans to partner with charter operators for pre-K schools after learning they wouldn’t be getting as much extra money as anticipated from the state after changes in the school finance system last legislative session. The Dallas Morning News reports that the district was trying to use a controversial law, Senate Bill 1882, which offers incentives to districts to partner with charter schools by providing more in per-pupil funding. Our TxEd in the Medium column outlines how money and the Texas Education Agency are driving the agenda for charter school partnerships.