- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) - More than 100 Arizona charter schools showed financial warning signs last year with dozens at possible risk of closing, according to a newspaper’s analysis of charter school finances across the state.

Operators representing 138 of the state’s 538 charter schools failed three of four measures reported in financial performance dashboards for the 2016-17 school year, The Arizona Republic reported .

Charter holders of 62 schools failed all four measures. The charter holders of 41 schools were flagged by their auditors over concerns that closure was possible within a year.

The operators of charter schools, which receive state funding per student, are required to submit financial audits to the state charter board each year. The newspaper analyzed four quantifiable measures from the audit reports, including net income, cash flow and how long a charter holder could stay open based on cash reserves and credit lines.

The dashboard analysis examined the finances of each charter holder as some companies operate multiple schools on a single charter.

The audit reports to the state are more of a snapshot in time rather than a comprehensive look at financial performance because the way the information is compiled can distort results, charter advocates said.

A charter school may not be struggling if it fails one or two standards. But if it fails three or four, or fails for multiple years, parents may need to be concerned, said Kevin Camberg, managing partner at Fester and Chapman, a firm that audits charter schools.

“That’s a pretty good starting point at least, if I were a parent, to make me inquire with the administration,” Camberg told The Republic in March. “There could be explanations, but that’s a good place to start.”

The state cannot intervene in a charter school’s operation based on financial reasons alone.


Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com

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