Friday, October 18, 2013
Two weeks after revelations that operators at Options Charter School were misappropriating funds for themselves, the D.C. Public Charter School Board is considering instituting more oversight of the city's charters. The new oversight would center around accurate and timely disclosure of charter school contracts, conflicts of interest and salaries of top-paid officials. Apparently, charters are already required to submit contracts worth more than $25,000 to the board, as well as disclose any conflicts. The board says, however, that those submissions have not been timely in the past.
While I credit the board for trying to do something, timeliness does not seem to be the problem here. Rather, the perverse incentives that come with handing public money over to private operators with little or no strings attached seem to be the problem. It is not clear how timeliness will change that. I would also note that these perverse incentives reach well beyond just money, but, of course, we rarely talk about that.