A windfall for failing charter schools?

How’s this for a treat?
Lawmakers in Indiana are debating whether to forgive millions of dollars in loans that the state gave to charter schools that lost their charters because they were failing academically.
According to this story by the Associated Press, eight charter schools owe a total of  $12 million to the Indiana Department of Education that was given to help them open. The schools’ charter authorizer, Ball State University, decided that the schools were not performing well and revoked the charters of seven of them last January; the eighth school did not seek a charter extension. Under a state grading system for schools, the schools all got “Ds” or “Fs.”
Three of the schools are operated by the Imagine Schools network, which is challenging the loss of the charters. The AP story said Imagine still owes $6.28 million from $6.3 million it borrowed.
The AP story said that legislators who support forgiving the loans say that the schools were never properly funded to begin with.
Critics call it what it is: A windfall.
Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.

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Valerie Strauss · April 23, 2013

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