A top official in the New York State Comptroller’s Office has urged regulators to require more transparency on charter-school finances. The response has been nonexistent.
Add another voice to those warning about the lack of financial oversight for charter schools. One of New York state's top fiscal monitors told ProPublica that audits by his office have found "practices that are questionable at best, illegal at worst" at some charter schools.
Pete Grannis, New York State's First Deputy Comptroller, contacted ProPublica after reading our story last week about how some charter schools have turned over nearly all their public funds and significant control to private, often for-profit firms that handle their day-to-day operations. The arrangements can limit the ability of auditors and charter-school regulators to follow how public money is spent – especially when the firms refuse to divulge financial details when asked.
Such setups are a real problem, Grannis said. And the way he sees it, there's a very simple solution. As a condition for agreeing to approve a new charter school or renew an existing one, charter regulators could require schools and their management companies to agree to provide any and all financial records related to the school.
"Clearly, the need for fiscal oversight of charter schools has intensified," he wrote in a letter to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last week. "Put schools on notice that relevant financial records cannot be shielded from oversight bodies of state and local governmental entities."
It's a plea that Grannis has made before. Last year, he sent a similar letter to the state's major charter-school regulators – New York City's Department of Education, the New York State Education Department, and the State University of New York.
He never heard back from any of them. "No response whatsoever," Grannis said. Not even, he added, a "'Thank you for your letter, we'll look into it.' That would have been the normal bureaucratic response."
We contacted all three of these agencies and the mayor's office for comment. None of them got back to us.
Courtesy : ProPublica.org
This is the third time that a government agency in the US has taken action against a major wireless carrier for practice called cramming
In July, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile accusing the carrier of bilking hundreds of millions of dollars from customers by hiding unauthorized charges in their phone bills.
In October, AT&T agreed to pay out $105 million to settle similar charges. At the time, federal and state officials said that the AT&T settlement was the largest of its kind regarding cramming allegations.
Now, it’s the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) accusing Sprint of operating an illegal billing system wherein the carrier allowed third parties (described below as merchants) to “cram” unauthorized charges onto customers’ bills — all while pocketing a chunk of the revenue themselves and ignoring consumer complaints about the practice.
This legal maxim demands that a litigant must not wilfully mislead the courts and justice
“In its order, the apex commission also said that ‘it is well settled that if any litigant approaches any judicial fora by making false assertions in its complaint and tries to mislead the judicial fora, then such litigant is not entitled to any relief in equity.’ Such petition should be thrown away at the threshold itself.” — a news report.