The Ohio state auditor’s office is questioning $20 million in federal money the state department of education handed out to 130 charter schools in the state.
In a report released last month, state auditors questioned the department’s oversight of the charter school grant money. Auditor Betty Montgomery’s office found that the department didn’t approve annual performance and financial reports from the schools in a timely manner, and sometimes gave those schools more grant money before their reports could be reviewed.
In seven out of 20 cases, the department allowed schools to spend at least 10 percent more on expenses than what their budgets allowed.
The auditor’s office, which criticized the department for dedicating only one staff employee to charter school oversight, recommended bolstering the monitoring staff and recommended withholding future funding from schools if their financial and performance reports haven’t been reviewed.
J.C. Benton, a state education agency spokesman, said his agency began beefing up its auding staff and making field visits to schools long before the report came out.
A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week