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Report: More than 100 Arizona charter schools could close

Posted at 12:26 PM, Jan 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-10 17:55:23-05

PHOENIX (AP) - A new report says more than 100 of the 544 charter schools in Arizona are in danger of closing because of excessive debt and other financial troubles.

Self-described centrist think tank Grand Canyon Institute found that 105 charter schools in the state were losing more than $400 per student, per year.

The study's main author, Curt Cardine, says "a bunch of charters" will close suddenly. Cardine is a former charter executive for EdKey Inc., a large Arizona charter chain that had a $7.74 million net deficit as of June 30, 2018.

The report doesn't directly name the schools it considers in financial distress. When asked why, Cardine said they didn't want "to cause those schools additional duress."

Arizona State Board for Charter Schools Chairwoman Kathy Senseman disputes that so many charters will close, saying Grand Canyon Institute's estimates are "a little inflated."

But Senseman says she considers the institute's research to be "fair."

Cardine did say the institute plans to share its full findings, including the list of schools in the most financial trouble, with the state charter board.

The institute examined charter school finances between 2014 and 2017.