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October 2, 2017 33 mins

Kevin Walsh of MyMediaDiary.com hosts David Wells, Ph.D, co-founder of the non-partisan research group The Grand Canyon Institute who co-authored with Curtis Cardine Following the Money:  Twenty Years of Charter School Finances in Arizona the first of three reports which reveals that up to 77 percent of Arizona’s charter school holders use their state taxpayer funds for potentially questionable financial transactions.

Specifically, many charter schools conduct business with a related party, in other words a for-profit business owned by the charter holder, a member of the school’s corporate board or a relative of either. In 2013-14, related-party financial commitments were worth half a billion dollars of state taxpayer funds, representing 48 percent of charter school expenditures for contracts, leases and rents.

Examples of these related-party transactions include:

  • Purchasing curriculum from the charter school holder’s for-profit company.
  • Hiring teachers from an employment services firm owned by the charter holder’s relative.
  • Contracting consulting services from a member of the charter school’s corporate board.
  • Leasing property from the charter holder’s parents.
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