Header Image Mobile Header Image


10/3/2014 | Holding Charter Schools Accountable, Promoting Strong Public Schools

$30 Million in Charter School Fraud

On Wednesday, the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) released a report exposing $30 million stolen from Pennsylvania’s children and families by charter school operators. “Fraud and Financial Mismanagement in Pennsylvania’s Charter Schools” details rampant abusive practices in a charter system that lacks proper oversight. Read The Philadelphia Inquirer front page exclusive here.

One administrator was found to have diverted $2.6 million to a church property; one charter school chief stole millions in school funds to bail out organizations associated with the school; and another charter employee embezzled $8 million for houses, a Florida condominium, and an airplane. These are just three of many examples of charter fraud and mismanagement detailed in the report.

As Salon reported yesterday:

What’s even more alarming is that none of these crimes were detected by state agencies overseeing the schools…every year virtually all of the state’s charter schools are found to be financially sound. The vast majority of fraud was uncovered by whistleblowers and media coverage and not by state auditors who have a history of not effectively detecting or preventing fraud.

We are standing with our partners ACTION United and Integrity in Education to demand a moratorium on new charter schools in Pennsylvania until necessary oversight measures are in place. Together, we rallied in front of Governor Tom Corbett’s offices in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to demand that he properly fund charter oversight.

“The current oversight system in Pennsylvania falls miserably short when it comes to detecting, preventing, and eliminating fraud,” said Kyle Serrette, Director of Education at the Center for Popular Democracy. “We plan to uncover fraud in charter schools state-by-state. The millions of children who are enrolled in charter schools nationwide deserve strong protections.”

Charter school fraud isn’t limited to just the $30 million stolen from Pennsylvania taxpayers. Earlier this year we released a report entitled "Charter Schools Vulnerabilities to Waste, Fraud, and Abuse," which found that over $100 million has been lost nationally to charter school operators’ abuse. It's a problem that affects us all.

Please take a moment to tell the Attorney General in your state to fight charter industry fraud.