The U.S. Government Accountability Office has issued a report detailing weaknesses in the management and implementation of the District of Columbia’s voucher program.
“The [DC Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation, which oversees the voucher program] needs to improve program management and operations to assure efficiency and effectiveness,” the report says. It cites problems with school oversight, policy implementation, and management of day-to-day operations.
The Opportunity Scholarship Program is the only federally funded school choice program. Aimed at low-income families, it provides up to $8,000 a year in tuition vouchers for students in grades K-8 and $12,000 for high school students to be applied to private schools that meet certain requirements.
The audit pointed to many flaws in the implementation of the program by the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corp., the nonprofit organization that took control of the program in 2010.
For example, it says that the directories of participating schools compiled by the trust were published too late, and sometimes lacked key information or were inaccurate. The report also faults the trust for failing to award scholarships in time for many families to make choices about the schools.
In response, representatives of the U.S. Department of Education said the report does not fully take into consideration the “significant staff turnover in leadership at the trust” during the study period.
A version of this article appeared in the December 04, 2013 edition of Education Week as D.C. Choice