Florida wastes $37 million on charters that never opened or soon closed

The federal grants awarded between 2006-14 for 186 Florida charters were wasted.  Forty six of these charters never opened at all.  Others closed.  You can see the list of federal charter startup grants with the amount of funds lost for each here.  A few received $25,000 planning grants and then decided not to open; others received hundreds of thousands of dollars to launch a charter and either did not open or shut down.  The Florida Times Union calls for better oversight.

The big money went to charter management organizations.  For example:

Charter Schools of Excellence received $2,911,355

Life Skills Centers received $1,608,844

Newpoint received $2,479,612 (and the owners have gone to jail).

The most recent closure data includes even more failed charters…410.  Some of these did not receive federal start up grants.  Put it all together, and there is nearly a forty percent chance that a charter school will fail.

Charters tend to target big population centers, but even there charters close at a high rate.    Thousands of children and their families have been  disrupted.  The counties with the most closed charters are in:

Broward:  59 charters closed

Dade:  53 charters closed

Hillsborough:  35 charters closed

Orange:  18 charters closed

Palm Beach:  42 charters closed

Some in the charter industry argue that high closure rates are good; they show the market economy works.  Others argue that parents are being fed false promises.  Children are not commodities to be discarded if they are not profitable.

Posted in Uncategorized.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for this analysis, Sue!

    Florida needs stronger statures regarding the authorization and renewal of charter schools in order to prevent profiteering through privatization. Florida legislators must not allow any more policies that cheat students from obtaining quality education. Charter schools drain education dollars that would be better spent on traditional schools. Charter schools that are run by districts would be fiscally responsible, fair, and accountable. Better yet, let districts have the extra funding they need to provide magnet schools and other alternative programs, such as career academies.

    At the very minimum, it’s high time to set up a commission that will review all educational practices to make sure that each dollar is spent wisely on producing better educational outcomes for our students.

    In NM, we finally have strong charter school rules, and we have reduced the proliferation of parallel systems (charter schools) that privilege or hurt about 7% of our students. We are hoping to pass legislation to create a temporary commission made up of legislators and education policy experts to give recommendations.


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