Almost 40 percent of all public school students in the District of Columbia (D.C. or District) were enrolled in charter schools in the 2010-11 school year. The D.C. School Reform Act established the Public Charter School Board (PCSB) for the purpose of authorizing and overseeing charter schools. Congress required GAO to conduct a management evaluation of PCSB. GAO addresses the following: (1) the mechanisms in place to review the performance and operations of PCSB, (2) the procedures and processes PCSB has in place to oversee and monitor the operations of D.C. charter schools, and (3) the resources available to charter schools for their operations and facilities. GAO interviewed officials from D.C. agencies and 7 charter schools and reviewed oversight procedures for PCSB and charter schools. GAO also reviewed the processes for providing resources to charter schools and analyzed data on these resources.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Executive Office of the Mayor||1. To ensure that the criteria for evaluating offers from charter schools to use surplus D.C. school buildings are clear and the reasons for denial of offers are communicated, the Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct the D.C. Department of Real Estate Services (DRES) to ensure the Request for Offers (RFO) on former D.C. school buildings clearly indicates all factors that may be considered by the selection panel.|
|Executive Office of the Mayor||2. To ensure that the criteria for evaluating offers from charter schools to use surplus D.C. school buildings are clear and the reasons for denial of offers are communicated, the Mayor of the District of Columbia should direct DRES to inform charter schools, in writing, of the reasons their offers were rejected or of the opportunity to request a briefing to obtain such information.|