Senate President Calls for Emergency Audit of Online K-12 Schools
Colorado lawmakers are directing auditors to map out how they would assess the state’s online K-12 schools. Democratic Senate President Brandon Shaffer is expressing concerns over student failure rates at the schools.
The move comes on the heels of a report by KUNC about poor student performance and online school oversight. Lawmakers voted 5:3 to approve staff research time to study how an audit of the online schools would be conducted. Republican Senator Scott Renfroe voted against the move, and said that there were valid questions, but that a February 2010 report might have some of the answers.
“I would like clarity on what part are you trying to expedite and why are you going through our legislative council?” he said.
Renfroe’s question was answered by State Auditor Dianne Ray.
“We can do the data analysis fairy quickly, it’s answering some of the other questions that will take a lot more time as far as developing it through the performance audit process,” she said.
Ray explained that the audit typically takes about nine months to complete. On Tuesday, legislators approved eight hours of research time for the audit committee to sketch out what an audit might look like.
Shaffer says he’s concerned about high failure rates at online schools and lack of appropriate oversight. The investigative network I-news is expected to release a second report about the state’s online schools early next week. Officials will revisit the topic at a Legislative Audit Committee meeting in November.