Home > Uncategorized > Retired AZ Superintendents’ Call to Require Audits in AZ Charters Illustrates Consequences of Deregulation

Retired AZ Superintendents’ Call to Require Audits in AZ Charters Illustrates Consequences of Deregulation

January 6, 2019

One of the article of faith of free-market conservatives is their belief that government regulations are unneeded. Regulations, they assert, create unnecessary paperwork and red tape and, in doing so, stem the destructive forces of creativity that are needed to advance the private sector.

Free-market conservatives had their way in Arizona, and they unleashed creative forces in public education when they passed charter school legislation that removed all forms of regulations from charters. The result, predictably, was abuse as profiteers and charlatans entered the marketplace and fleeced parents, students, and taxpayers while lining their pockets.

Now two retired public school superintendents want to impose some sanity into the management of charters. In an op ed piece that appeared in this past Thursday’s Arizona Capital Times, Denton Santarelli, the former superintendent of the Peoria Unified School District, and Tom Heck, the former superintendent of Litchfield Elementary School District, offer three ideas to reinstate fiscal sanity in the oversight of charter schools:

Charter schools need to be held to the same requirements for an annual comprehensive audit as traditional schools.

Charter schools need to be included in the annual report, Arizona School Districts’ Dollars Spent in the Classroom, conducted by the state auditor general.

Charter schools should be subject to performance audits conducted by the Arizona auditor general and appear before a legislative oversight committee to explain the findings of the performance audit.

In a nutshell, the former superintendents are suggesting that the legislature should impose the same fiscal accountability on charters as they impose on public schools.

While these recommendations seem logical and rational, it would not surprise me if Arizona’s governor and legislature do just the opposite. Because free-markets should be completely free, the legislature should abandon annual comprehensive audits across the board… and while they are at it they should abandon democratically elected school boards. If all schools operated like businesses eventually those who are doing a bad job will be forced out of business. The parents and students bilked by the shoddy and incompetent private schools? Collateral damage….

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