Atlanta - A newly released audit from the U.S. Department of Education finds Georgia is doing a good job monitoring the money its start-up charter schools are getting from the federal government.
Georgia has received over a $100 million from the Charters School Program Implementation Grants in the last ten or so years. New charter schools, whether local or state-commissioned, apply for the money intended for start-up costs such as computers, desks, or transportation systems.
“When you start up a charter school, you have a lot of expenses you don’t have in a normal year of operating,” says Louis Erste, director of the Charter Schools Division for the Georgia Department of Education.
He tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish while an audit three years ago found the state was weak on its monitoring, in the latest audit Georgia achieved straight A’s.
Erste says the changes implemented since the previous audit have even been passed along to other systems.
“We’ve made a lot of improvements in our monitoring tools and there’s a whole variety of information we send out in advance to say ‘here’s what we look at… all your invoices, your charter, anything to do with the grant’,” he says.
The state has around $13 million left of the current grant for any new local or state-commissioned charter schools.