May 25, 2021
The Texas Public Charter Schools Association issued this statement regarding recent findings of financial misconduct at IDEA Public Schools:
The Texas public charter school community is profoundly disappointed by these findings of financial misconduct. We will never tolerate abuses of the public trust by leaders of public schools.
Public charter schools were founded on the promise of accountability. The governing board of IDEA believes in that promise. Its members proactively initiated an independent investigation of alleged misconduct so that the facts could be revealed, and corrective action taken, with great speed. Sadly, their internal investigation uncovered unacceptable financial malfeasance.
Our community will continue to support the highest standards of transparency, ethics, and financial responsibility — which our schools owe to their students and families, educators, and all Texans. We expect every school to follow the law.
The accountability system for public charter schools is rightfully strict. It includes harsh penalties for violating open meetings laws, yearly audits by independent certified public accountants, and public reporting of extensive financial data beyond what traditional districts are required to report. These standards work: public charter schools’ rigorous requirements for financial reporting, public records and open meetings helped bring this situation into the light.
Across the state, dedicated educators at public charter schools are getting incredible results. It’s critical that we safeguard their work so they can continue to put students first. We will continue to work with lawmakers to strengthen oversight of public schools in Texas.
Brian Whitley (firstname.lastname@example.org)