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ERIC Number: ED539290
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Measuring Charter School Financial Health. Authorizing Matters. Issue Brief
Aase, Ben
National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NJ1)
As schools are in the business of educating students, academic performance should be the primary outcome by which a charter school is evaluated. But a charter school cannot provide students with a good education if it cannot meet payroll, afford to keep the lights on in the building, or worse yet, improperly uses public funds that should be spent in the classroom. Clearly, fiscal health is a key indicator of charter school success, and monitoring financial performance and position is inherent to quality charter school authorizing. The portfolio nature of charter school authorizing, relatively standardized accounting practices, and wealth of publicly available financial data create an ideal information ecosystem for authorizers to evaluate fiscal health of schools they charter. And although most charter school authorizers--like the leaders of the schools they oversee--are not drawn to the education world nor inspired by its implicit financial responsibilities, there are several relatively simple duties that authorizers must execute to effectively evaluate a charter school's financial health: (1) Reading and interpreting charter school financial statements; (2) Knowing if a school's resources have kept pace with expenses; (3) Tracking financial trends; (4) Spotting characteristics of financial health, as well as warning signs and red flags; and (5) Identifying if a charter school is gaining or losing financial ground. The purpose of this Issue Brief is to provide simple guidance, in layman's language, to support authorizers in understanding and conducting the financial due diligence and oversight responsibilities inherent to the authorizing function. (Contains 1 endnote and 4 resources.)
National Association of Charter School Authorizers. 105 West Adams Street Suite 3500, Chicago, IL 60603. Tel: 312-376-2300; Fax: 312-376-2400; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Administrators; Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Charter School Authorizers