New York charter schools won a big victory Thursday when a judge ruled the state’s top fiscal officer can’t follow the money and look at their books.
Charter school crusader Eva Moskowitz filed suit to bar state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli from auditing her 22 schools, all of which are publicly funded but also receive private donations. On Thursday, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Thomas Breslin ruled DiNapoli did not have the authority to audit any New York charter because the schools are not technically “units of the state.”
“We are disappointed that the court struck down the law authorizing the Comptroller’s office to audit charter schools,” said DiNapoli spokesman Matt Sweeney. He added an appeal is under consideration.
Other cities, such as Los Angeles and Chicago, have rules allowing charters to be audited. In New York, the schools are required to hire independent auditors.
So Eva gets to hire her own "independent auditor" to scrutinize her books and financial numbers.
Yeah, I'm sure that scrutiny will be tip-top.
That's like Wall Street banks hiring their own ratings agencies to rate their financial products.
Remember how well that went?
In the end, I wonder if this court decision helps or hurts Eva and the other charters.
If Cuomo is going to shove through rules that enshrine co-location and additional charter funding because he says charter schools are public schools with a right to those things but now a court says they're not public schools and the state has no right of scrutiny over their financial books, doesn't that kind of undercut Cuomo's (and the charter operators) meme?
Or do charters get to have it both ways - they're public schools when they want the goodies like money and co-location rules, but they're private entities when the sticks come, like the audits and the teacher evaluation rules and the like?