New York City Department of Education

Monitoring of Charter School Performance

Charter schools are independent public schools governed by not-for-profit boards of trustees and managed according to the terms of a performance contract or ďcharter.Ē Such schools are required to establish various goals, which become part of their charters. The New York City Department of Education oversees 23 charter schools, the first four of which opened in 2000. The 23 charter schools are required to report annually to the Department on their progress in achieving their goals and on certain other aspects of their educational and fiscal performance. However, all 11 annual reports we reviewed lacked critical, required performance information. We further determined that the Department lacks a formal process for reviewing the performance information that is reported, and does not require schools to develop corrective action plans if they are not making satisfactory progress in the achievement of their goals.

Applicants seeking to open a charter school are required to complete a formal application process, while schools seeking to continue operations beyond the five-year term of their initial charter are required to complete a formal renewal process. We attempted to evaluate the adequacy of the Departmentís application and renewal processes, but were unable to fully evaluate the processes because some of the records documenting the Departmentís evaluations and assessments were not retained. We recommended that a number of actions be taken to improve the Departmentís monitoring of charter school performance and its administration of the charter application and renewal processes.

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