Taxpayers should not be paying for phantom students

After releasing his report on Charter school attendance, the Auditor appears on Captiol Insider and had this to say, according to the Dispatch

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost said he was left “speechless” by the discrepancies in attendance his investigators found during surprise visits to 30 charter schools.

Half of the schools had significantly lower attendance than they had reported to the state. Investigators found no students at one school.

Yet the former prosecutor’s 56-page report released last week said he did not determine whether the schools were cheating and couldn’t say whether they had bilked taxpayers, Dispatch Reporter Catherine Candisky notes.

It almost doesn't matter. Of course we must still demand a real investigation, and if fraud has been occurring arrests and indictments must happen, but what the Auditor truly revealed is the massive on-going over-payment to charter schools for students they are not teaching.

If Charter schools are regularly teaching <100% of the students they claim to have, they should not be receiving 100% of the state aid, transferred from local school districts

. These millions of dollars in over-payments due to lax reporting and oversight are bad for taxpayers and terrible for traditional public school students who are being deprived of funding they should be receiving if these charters were billing correctly.

The legislature needs to take a long hard look at how and when money is transferred to charter schools and ensure they are only being paid for student that are actually in their classrooms. No more payments for phantom students