December 6, 2019 6:09 pm

Still Asleep at the Wheel

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Still Asleep at the Wheel continues our investigation of the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program (CSP) that began with our March 2019 report, which you can find here. The Charter Schools Program has spent more than $4.1 billion dollars to fund new charter schools and to expand existing charter schools. In this report, we document over a half-billion dollars that was wasted on defunct charter schools that received grants from 2006-2014 alone. There is no data for granted money from 1995-2005. That is because the Department did not require the states to report to which schools they gave over a million dollars of taxpayer funds. Given that 28% of all of the funds spent during those select years (2006-2014) were wasted, we conclude that over $1 billion has been wasted during the 25 years that the program has been in existence.

According to our analysis, 37% of the charter schools that were funded by CSP during those years either never opened (11%) or opened and then closed (26%). That figure is the result of our confirmation of the status of nearly 5000 charter schools that received funds from CSP.

The interactive map below provides detailed information, state by state, on the waste of federal tax dollars from active CSP grants between 2006-2014. Amounts are derived from the 2015 CSP report and thus reflect actual expenditures and/or committed amounts when the report was published. For more detail, please read our report.


Case Studies

Click on the states in blue to read that state’s case study or hover over it for the quick facts. 

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY DC

State case studies expose the waste of federal tax dollars on charter schools that received grant money between 2006-2014 through the U. S. Department of Education Charter Schools Program and are now defunct. For each state, we list the school and the amount received as per the database published by the Department in 2015.

We did our best to get it right. If we listed a school in error, let us know and we will update. If there is a charter school in your state in the database that is closed or closing, also let us know. You can find the complete database here. Updates will be made periodically. Contact us at info@networkforpubliceducation.org.


By-the-Numbers

NPE investigated the Charter Schools Program (CSP) awards from grants that were active from 2006-2014. Below we provide a running total of how many CSP grants were awarded, what percentage of the charters that received them are now closed, and the amount of taxpayer dollars wasted.

STATES

43

GRANTS

4,829

CLOSED

1,779

PERCENT

37

WASTE

$504,517,391


Percent of CSP non-functioning grant recipient schools by state

Key: Blue 0-9%, Green 10-19%, Yellow 20-29%, Orange 30-39%, Red 40% and above. States that do not have a charter law or have never received a grant are light tan.