Thanks to Leonie Haimson for posting this information about the New York State Comptroller’s audit of charter schools in Albany. The links are a must-read. When you read the links, you will understand why the New York Charter Association fought all efforts to permit the State Comptroller to audit the charters; the charters won in court, but the legislature revised the law, allowing the audits to proceed.

Leonie Haimson writes:

Albany Community Charter School – Financial Operations (Albany County)
The board failed to fully evaluate the choice of its school building for the site selection of the elementary school or middle school. Auditors found the school could have saved from $200,000 to $2.3 million if it purchased the elementary school by issuing debt instead of continuing to lease the building.

The building was being leased from the Brighter Choice Foundation,

The Brighter Choice Foundation, founded by Tom Carroll, who is one of Albany’s top lobbyists for privatization. More on him and the Foundation here:

In response to the crises faced by the Albany public schools, a group of concerned civic and business leaders founded the Brighter Choice Foundation (BCF) in 2000. At the time, the mission of BCF was to undertake a variety of educational initiatives aimed at addressing the dire educational situation in Albany. These educational initiatives included:

  • Providing technical assistance and other support to public charter schools, public schools, and private schools pursuing innovative educational practices, with a focus on schools serving urban and economically disadvantaged children.
  • Supporting innovative educational approaches, including longer school day and longer school year models; single-sex instruction; subject-based elementary-level instruction; looping and integration of social and educational programs.
  • Conducting and commissioning research on the effectiveness of different educational approaches.
  • Supporting educational scholarships, with a focus on programs that serve economically disadvantaged students.
  • Serving as a clearinghouse for information on educational best practices.

Thirteen years after the start of its mission and with nine charter schools up and running in Albany, BCF has become an organization dedicated to the support and success of those schools. Today, those nine charter schools supported by BCF collectively represent the Albany Charter School Network (ACSN).