After a year-long investigation, the Center for Media and Democracy has released a report showing that in the last two decades, at least $3.7 billion of Federal funds have gone to charter schools with little oversight or accountability.

Investigators found that the Federal government was not providing the public with a list of all charter schools that got funds and how much they received and that states have not been forthcoming with info to the public about charter funding and how much money has been diverted from traditional public schools to charters.

The report states, “Unlike truly public schools that have to account for prospective and past spending in public budgets provided to democratically elected schools boards, charter spending of tax monies is too often a black hole.”

As the CMD investigation progressed, it became apparent that little is known about spending by charter schools that have closed and that there are a number of “ghost” charters that received Federal grants but never opened.

For example, in 2011 and 2012, $3.7 million was awarded to 25 Michigan “ghost” schools that never enrolled a student.  Seven such schools in Ohio got $4 million.

Some $2.5 million of Federal “Charter School Program (CSP) went to Wisconsin charters that closed soon after opening and Indiana got at least $2.2 million for schools that were open briefly and never opened.