Home > Uncategorized > Michigan Spent Millions for Charter Schools That Never Opened…. But Is Prepared to Spend Millions More

Michigan Spent Millions for Charter Schools That Never Opened…. But Is Prepared to Spend Millions More

December 30, 2019

Michigan Public Radio reporter Dustin Dwyer provided his listeners with a synopsis of a study done by the Network for Public Education (NPE) that determined that 72 of the 257 charter schools receiving federal funding never opened… a dubious record that was unmatched by any other state in the union. But that’s not the worst:

Another 40 charter schools in Michigan that received money have since closed. In total, 44% of the schools that won grants are no longer open.

Despite that, Michigan is moving ahead with the latest round of the federal program, which could send an additional $47 million to the state’s charter schools.

Mr. Dwyer reported that some of the Michigan State Board members expressed misgivings over the oversight of these funds, but the majority of members endorsed the continuation of the program and State Superintendent Michael Rice “…told members of the State Board of Education at a meeting Tuesday that he’s asking the Michigan Department of Education to keep a closer eye on funding for the next round of grants.” Given NPE’s analysis, it seems that he or his predecessor failed to do this in the past:

The report from the Network for Public Education lists several examples from Michigan in which charter school operators paid themselves, or their family members, tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees for schools that never opened.

Given the loose regulations governing charter schools it is no surprise that “entrepreneurs” are seizing the opportunity to make money at the expense of taxpayers. But those who favor the application of the marketplace model for the public sector will be quick to point out that failing schools, like failing restaurants, failing casinos, or failing hotels, will close. The collateral damage to the “customers” in schools, though, is more far reaching than the collateral damage to customers in other failed businesses.

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