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State board helps regulate, hold Arizona charter schools accountable, school official says

Posted at 4:58 AM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-27 06:58:51-05

PHOENIX — Arizona is home to more than 500 charter schools -- a growing option for parents who want choices for their kids.

"A lot of them are really broad and unique and different from one another," explains Kathy Hoffman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Arizona.

And this means creating regulations that fit each of these schools isn't easy, but Hoffman points to one thing that concerns her -- all the money that's tied up in some of Arizona's charter schools.

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"We still have charter CEOs that are profiting millions and millions of dollars, which to me, I would say is unethical," Hoffman explains. "Compared to, if you think about the needs of our students. To me, that money should be going into our classrooms, benefiting our students, not our CEOs."

And what about the oversight? Two years ago, The Discovery Creemos Academy in Goodyear closed suddenly, leaving more than a hundred students left with no place to go. Just last week, a third administrator plead guilty to lying about student enrollment to get more money from the state, according to ABC15 news partner KTAR.

Hoffman, who sits on the state charter school board, says the board now has more staff to perform audits, on-site visits, and compliance checks, to hopefully stop this type of thing from happening and also make sure the good charter schools get recognized.

"It's a spectrum just like any of our other schools. We have some that are just doing a fabulous job and others that are maybe not doing what's best for kids. I'm glad that through the State Charter School Board, we have more accountability."

RELATED: Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction: More needs to be done about education funding