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Federal audit finds lax charter school oversight in California

A recent federal audit finds that the federal government and California have done a poor job monitoring millions of federal dollars for charter schools.

The US Department of Education's inspector general examined some of the nearly $1 billion in charter school grants to states and individual charter schools between 2008 and 2011. Auditors zeroed in on California, Arizona, and Florida. In this state, they found that the people assigned to inspect charter schools were unqualified and didn't know what was expected of them.

California received $182 million in federal charter school grants during the four-year period. A spokeswoman with the state Department of Education said it's trying to ramp up charter school oversight. Education officials have closed dozens of charter schools in recent years because of low academic performance, cheating on tests, and misappropriation of funds.

Still, parents hold most charters in high regard. The audit results surface as the number of charter schools in this state exceeds 1,000. LA Unified and Los Angeles County have the highest concentration of charters of any California school district or county.