Mercedes Schneider uncovered a fascinating development. The National Federation of Municipal Analysts, a professional association, has called for standards for charter school transparency and accountability. It is impossible to assess the credit worthiness of bonds, whether issued by state or local authorities, without full transparency on the part of agencies receiving public funds.

The Association released a 24-page draft statement on September 28, laying out what its members need to know, including:

“WASHINGTON – The National Federation of Municipal Analysts is urging charter schools to provide detailed financial, academic, and staffing information in primary and secondary disclosure documents. …

The [RBP] draft constitutes NFMA’s first disclosure recommendations for charter schools. …

The paper will be open for public comment through Nov. 30. After that date, NFMA will review comments and finalize the paper. …

According to the RBP, a charter school’s POS (primary offering statement) should disclose all material financial agreements, including the proposed indenture, loan agreement, capital leases, management agreements, and tax regulatory agreements. …Descriptions of facilities and their financing, pledged revenues, and projected cash flows. …Descriptions of debt service, repair and replacement, operating and deficit, as well as insurance and property tax reserve funds.

…Academic performance as well as school management and operations. …

…Charter board membership, compensation, and tenure; information available on the school’s website; management qualification, experience, and compensation; third-party manager control, compensation, and replacement; and charter school teaching faculty, classroom ratios, and teachers’ union affiliation. …Teacher and staff compensation, including retirement benefits, any complaints and claims the school is facing, as well as operating and funding information related to extracurricular activities.

…Information about the size, capacity, and condition of facilities, including equipment, along with descriptions of future capital improvement needs, insurance support, and transportation and parking capabilities for students and staff, respectively.

…Discussion of audited financial statements and interim financials, current budgetary processes, financial covenant compliance and projections, and existing banking relationships…. State aid and other governmental support… information about planned future debt and reliance on endowments, fund drives, contributions, and gifts.

…School’s location, enrollment, potential competition from other schools in the area, and future projections on such topics are also important….

[And] separate but related suggestions to consider credit risks and continuing disclosure.”

This is the kind of disclosure that has not been sought or expected by local, state, and federal governments, as they pump billions of dollars into the charter industry. Some districts and states are heading for a fiscal cliff, pushed there by reckless state and philanthrocapitalists like a Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Walton family, Doris Fisher, and many more who are reckless with public money.