This week, the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) released a scathing report on charter schools in 12 states which have received federal funding. The report, titled Charter School Black Hole shows that Michigan charter schools received $34,997,658 between 2010-2015 under the federal Charter School Program (CSP). 139 of the 297 charters (as of 2014, the number is up to 302 now) in Michigan were subsidized in part by federal tax dollars in the past five years.
Here is just a little of what the investigation found:
Since the inception of charters in the state, more than 100 charters have closed (108). Many of them have closed due to lack of “academic viability” (poor results) while other have closed due to lack of “financial viability” (such as inadequate enrollment) and some for both or other failings. The total amount these schools have received is not known, but they certainly consumed well over $1 million in federal CSP grants before shuttering.
And it gets even worse:
Perhaps one of the most surprising takeaways from the federal information available about how taxpayer money is being spent or wasted is the existence of “ghost” schools that never opened. Out of the charters that were approved for CSP funds by the Michigan Department of Education in 2011 and 2012, twenty-five never opened. CMD learned this through its FOIA.
The organizations behind these proposed charter schools were approved for a total of nearly $3.7 million in federal tax funds in “pre-planning” and “planning” grants, and they were received nearly $1.7 million, according to state expenditure reports CMD reviewed.
So millions of dollars of tax payer money, that COULD have gone toward improving public schools in Michigan, is wasted on funding school that either were NEVER going to open, or opened and then quickly closed.
And people wonder why our public schools are suffering.