Are Charter Schools Making the Grade?

By John Noel
|  Friday, Apr 23, 2010  |  Updated 1:49 AM EDT
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Change could be coming to the city's charter schools. Some parents say the schools are taking resources away from their kids. <a title=John Noel reports." />

Change could be coming to the city's charter schools. Some parents say the schools are taking resources away from their kids. John Noel reports.

In a packed New York State Senate Committee hearing room in Lower Manhattan today, the central question being discussed was whether charter schools are meeting their responsibilities.

There are more than 130 charter schools in New York State. Most of them, 99, are in New York City.

Charter schools are public schools, funded by taxpayer dollars but operated by private corporations.

Recent reports of high charter school executive salaries, the hiring of relatives and questionable spending prompted New York State Senator Bill Perkins to call the hearing.

"From the prospective of government, we need to make sure that there's a transparency and accountability about your tax dollars," said Perkins.

Chris Bender, the chairman of The Brighter Choice Foundation that has established 11 charter schools in New York State, responded by saying, "A lot of the arguments here today are about adult issues like money and politics. If you visit most of the charter schools in the city of New York and across the state, parents are very, very satisfied."

Perkins says that while, for him, the jury on charter schools is still out, he feels more legislative oversight of the industry is likely.

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