State Auditor Doug Hoffer recently issued the second of two performance audits on Vermont’s approved independent schools. You may have missed it because it was virtually ignored by the #vtpoli media. (Both reports can be accessed here.)
The lack of coverage deserves a post of its own. For now, let’s get to the meat of Hoffer’s work. He didn’t find any smoking guns, but he did identify a striking trend and some definite lapses in oversight by the state. It’s a dangerous combination, especially with so many indy-related people on the state board of education.
Hoffer’s first report focused on an educational double standard: the rules for public schools and AIS’s are quite different, and favor the latter. The high points:
- The Education Secretary is required in state law to ensure that public schools comply with the law. There is no such provision for AIS’s.
- Public schools must follow public-records and open-meetings laws, ensuring a measure of transparency and accountability. The AIS’s do not.
- Educational quality standards are much looser for AIS’s than for public schools.
- Public schoolteachers must be licensed by the state. Not so for AIS’s.
There’s more, but that gives you the general idea that the indies can cut lots and lots of corners, and are less accountable for how they spend Education Fund money.
Now we get to Hoffer’s second report, which reveals that the AIS’s are taking a larger and larger share of K-12 dollars. Details after the jump.Continue reading