President Shaffer renews his call for an audit of online schools

Submitted by Brandon C. Shaffer

DENVER— Senate President Brandon Shaffer (D-Longmont) sent a second letter to members of the Legislative Audit Committee which included reports from media sources from around Colorado demonstrating the need for an audit of Colorado’s online schools. President Shaffer first called for an emergency audit of online schools on September 26, 2011 after serious problems with some of those schools were exposed in several investigative reports.

The members of the Legislative Audit Committee were initially asked to approve a small amount of staff hours to allow the Office of the State Auditor to examine the request and draft an audit plan for the Committee to approve. The request was approved on a 5-3 vote.

Today, in his letter, President Shaffer asked members of the Legislative Audit Committee to put politics aside and give serious consideration to the audit request:

“During a time of severe budget shortfalls in which crippling cuts to critical programs reduce the State’s ability to provide essential services to the people of Colorado, there is no excuse to tolerate waste of limited resources.

This is not a political issue.  It’s a simple matter of accountability and oversight.  Please put partisan politics aside and do the right thing by approving this audit request.”

The next meeting of the Legislative Audit Committee is scheduled for November 7-8.

Below is the full text of the letter sent to Senator Lois Tochtrop (D-Thornton), Legislative Audit Committee Chair, and the other members of the Committee:

October 19, 2011

Re: Online School Audit Request

Dear Sen. Tochtrop,

I write to provide you with additional support for my request for an urgent audit of online schools.  Within the past week more than a dozen credible news reports have exposed deficiencies in the oversight and performance of these schools.  Many of the findings of these news accounts were unknown to me before I made my request.  They demonstrate both the need and the urgency with which this audit needs to proceed.  I enclose these accounts for your review.

There must be zero tolerance when the State receives less than full value for expenditure of public moneys.  During a time of severe budget shortfalls in which crippling cuts to critical programs reduce the State’s ability to provide essential services to the people of Colorado, there is no excuse to tolerate waste of limited resources.

This is not a political issue.  It’s a simple matter of accountability and oversight.  Please put partisan politics aside and do the right thing by approving this audit request.

Sincerely,

/s/ Brandon C. Shaffer
Senate President

Below is some of the in-depth coverage the issue has received:

K12 Inc.: Public Online Schools, Private Profits
KUNC
By Grace Hood
September 21, 2011

CO Online Schools Get Audit Request
Associated Press
By Ivan Moreno
September 26, 2011

Senate President Shaffer Wants Audit of Online Schools
Longmont Times-Call/ Associated Press
By John Fryar
September 27, 2011

Auditor to Consider Online Schools’ Review
Education News Colorado
By Todd Engdahl
September 27, 2011

New Audit of Online Schools Gains Traction At Colorado Capitol
The Denver Post
By Karen Auge and Tim Hoover
September 28, 2011

Online Schools Take Tax Money but Fail Many Students (with Video)
KMGH 7 News
By Arthur Kane and Tony Kovaleski, CALL7 Investigators
September 28, 2011

Investigation Shows Troubling Student Data from Online Schools (with Video)
KUSA 9 News
By Jace Larson
October 2, 2011

Online Schools Investigation (with Audio)
Colorado Public Radio
By Jenny Brundin
October 3, 2011

Online K-12 Schools Failing Students but Keeping Tax Dollars
I-News Network and Education News Colorado
By Burt Hubbard I-News Network and Nancy Mitchell Education News Colorado

Achievement drops when K-12 students switch to online schools
I-News Network and Education News Colorado
By Burt Hubbard I-News Network and Nancy Mitchell Education News Colorado

Investigation Finds Lax State Oversight of Online K-12 Schools
I-News Network and Education News Colorado
By Burt Hubbard I-News Network and Nancy Mitchell Education News Colorado

Editorial: Tuning in, dropping out: Online schools troubled?
The Denver Post
October 9, 2011

 

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