From an editorial Thursday in the (Raleigh) News & Observer:
The Kinston Charter Academy has closed now, and a tough state audit makes it clear that is a good thing. The audit says the school got more than $666,000 from the state in July 2013 and spent all the money, which was supposed to last until October, before it closed on the ninth day of classes in September.
The audit also said that the board and CEO of the school didn’t have the experience to run a school and that the CEO’s wife and daughter were hired in positions for which they weren’t qualified. The school also missed paying teachers and staff members and didn’t do the proper paperwork.
The former CEO, Ozie Hall Jr., disputes the audit and says the State Department of Public Instruction contributed to problems that closed the school. He is now running a charter school in Harnett County.
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At the least, this audit sounds alarms about whether charters – public schools funded by taxpayers but without some of the rules governing conventional schools – are adequately supervised. That’s why Rep. Larry Hall, Democratic leader of the state House of Representatives, says he’ll introduce legislation to strengthen oversight of charters, particularly financial oversight.
More scrutiny is welcome and should be supported by Republicans, who have pushed the expansion of charter schools, which unfortunately are seen by some advocates as some kind of public-private combination. They’re not. They’re public, and they need supervision for the welfare of students and the protection of taxpayers.