Arizona has celebrated its role in the charter gold rush and is often considered “the wild west” of chartering. The laws are lax, the schools are deregulated, and there is little or no oversight.

A new report by the Grand Canyon Institute says that as many as 100 charter schools in the state are at risk of closing.

The Arizona Republic reports:

Following the abrupt closure of at least three Arizona charter schools over the past year, a new report concludes more than 100 of the state’s charters are in danger of closing because of excessive debt and other financial troubles.

It’s a “near certainty” that more than 50 of the state’s 544 charter schools will close in the near future, according to the report by the Grand Canyon Institute, a self-described centrist think tank.

As a whole, Arizona’s 544 charter schools owe more to creditors than they’re worth as businesses contracted with the state to educate kindergarten to 12th-grade students, the report states. “Like any business, an overleveraged charter is financially vulnerable and could fail if it then suffers an income loss,” the report states.

“You will see a bunch of charters folding suddenly,” said Curt Cardine, the study’s main author and a former charter executive for EdKey Inc., a large Arizona charter chain that had a $7.74 million net deficit as of June 30, 2018.

Here is a link to the Grand Canyon report.