Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brooks' heavy hand underscores the justification for charter schools

State Auditor Hector Balderas recently ripped the APS over a recent audit that revealing 378 "findings" (problems) mostly related to APS charter schools.

Balderas wrote of;“poor financial management and failure to adhere to internal controls in many of the district’s charter schools."

Chagrined by the chastisement, APS complained that it was unfair to hold them accountable for charter school audits, as the district did not have authority enough over the charters, to be held accountable for their missteps.

It turned out that they did, they just didn't know that they did.

Still stinging from all the bad press, and eager to wield his "new found" authority, APS Superintendent Winston Brooks demanded that four APS charters turn in monthly reports or he would revoke their charters.

The immediate problem was, the contract between the charters and the APS, call for quarterly reports, not monthly reports. If nothing else, Brooks' demand would force charters to pull personnel and resources away from whatever else they might need to be doing, to work instead on the extra reports.

The most embarrassing part of this whole thing for Brooks, was that the schools from whom he demanded the extra reports, are schools that routinely out perform APS' traditional schools.

I attend weekly meetings at one of the charter schools, and am endlessly amazed by the successes I see at the school.

In the end, the charters furnished the additional reports, Brooks withdrew his threat and then announced that as far as he was concerned, the matter was past. All except for the embarrassment he brought upon himself with his heavy handed solution to the "problem".

It is this kind of micro-managing and heavy handed dealings that lead educators to break from the APS and create charters in the first place.

The leadership of the APS, the charters, and NMPED Secretary Veronica Garcia, are supposed to meet tomorrow to solidify understandings over what authority the APS actually has over the charters, and over what their obligations are with respect to oversight by the APS.

photo Mark Bralley


Anonymous said...

I read a quote from Brooks that the lack of transparency or visibility of what was happening in the charter schools was a problem ... guess he didn't look under his own nose. When was the last APS audit made public?

ched macquigg said...

It was just released, and is posted on line on the State Auditors Site.

Anonymous said...

Sure it's submitted by APS, but is it truthful?

Anonymous said...

The Public APS audit is not done by internal audit staff. The Public APS audit is prepared by independent outside contractors.
If you have a question regarding the audit's accuracy, please contact the State Auditor regarding the Independent Audit firm noted within the audit document.