One in eight Florida charter schools facing deficits, audit shows
A recently released state audit shows that 76 of 615 Florida charter schools ended 2013-14 with a financial deficit, while 31 charters had material weaknesses with their internal financial controls.
Broward County had the highest prevalence of troubled charters, with 25 percent. But it's not the only district with struggling schools.
The audit listed six of 43 charters (14 percent) in Hillsborough as running deficits at the end of the year, along with four of 22 charters (18 percent) in Pinellas and one of seven (14 percent) in Pasco. Some of the listed schools, including Florida Autism Center of Excellence in Pasco and Imagine Middle School of St. Petersburg, have since closed. Others worked to improve their status.
Still, the audit highlights the tenuous nature of some charter schools -- something the Florida Board of Education sought to address this week by requiring charter applicants to disclose their past interactions with other charter schools, including their financial and academic history. Board members said they do not want someone who failed at one location to change a corporate name and resurface to claim more taxpayer dollars.