Groups charge $30 million in charter school fraud, call for tougher oversight

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 Members of Action United chant outside the Union League on Broad Street where Gov. Tom Corbett was lunching, The group delivered a report detailing $30 million lost to waste, fraud, and abuse at charter schools. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Members of Action United chant outside the Union League on Broad Street where Gov. Tom Corbett was lunching, The group delivered a report detailing $30 million lost to waste, fraud, and abuse at charter schools. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A new report is calling for holding charter schools in Pennsylvania more accountable.

Produced by the groups Center for Public Democracy, Integrity in Education and Action United, the report says the $30 million in charter school fraud already discovered in Pennsylvania could be the tip of the iceberg because there isn’t enough oversight.

Kia Hinton of Action United says they are calling for reforms such as targeted audits because $30 million could have been put to much better use.

“Do you know what that could get us? That could get us more teachers so our classrooms don’t have 40 students, that could get us textbooks, so our students have textbooks and that could get us support staff to support our teachers and our students,” Hinton said.

The groups are also calling for a moratorium on any new charter schools until more controls are implemented.

Chinara Bioaal has a child in Philly schools and says the report is just a first step to end fraud.

“We will be conducting information requests on all charter schools to review board minutes to determine the quality or existence of their fraud risk management programs, we will challenge charter schools to sign the fraud risk management pledge adopting fraud risk management programs,” Bioaal said.

The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools responded to the report saying it supports prosecuting fraud and mismanagement. However “the report draws sweeping conclusions about the entire charter sector based on only 11 cited incidents in the course of almost 20 years, while ignoring numerous alleged and actual fraud and fiscal mismanagement in the districts.”

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