AZ CSP Subgrantee Monitoring, Authorizer Monitoring, and Charter Closure Procedures
Charter schools in Arizona were created by the Arizona Legislature in 1994 as a means to improve pupil achievement and provide additional academic choices for parents and pupils (ARS § 15-181). All charter school entities in the state of Arizona function as an independent LEA. These charter schools, except as provided in ARS § 15-181 and §15-183, are exempt from all statutes and rules relating to schools, governing boards and school districts.
Because an Arizona charter school entity functions as an independent LEA, the charter entity interacts with the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) similar to any state school district except that it is not a geo-political subdivision of the state. All state and additional federal education programs funding to the charter entity is processed and monitored directly through ADE. Each ADE division and unit interacts directly with the charter school entity to fund it, to receive required reports and to monitor state and federal programs as required by statute and regulation. Under state and federal statute if a charter entity violates specific statues and regulations, ADE has the authority to reduce or withhold funds; however, because ADE is not a charter school authorizing agency, it has no authority to revoke the entity’s charter. That is the sole province of the charter entity’s authorizer.
Arizona Charter Schools Program Subgrantee Monitoring
The Arizona Charter Schools Program was created in 2009 to support visionary leaders who will form charter schools which will improve student achievement to high academic standards and improve high school student achievement and graduation rates.
The AZ CSP has procedures related to subgrantee performance monitoring
Arizona Charter Schools Program Funding and Monitoring Procedures:
Subgrantee funding requests procedure:
- In the first three months of each new project year, awardees submit their payment request through the Arizona Charter Schools Program (AZ CSP) unit for review.
- Upon approval, funding requests are sent to Grants Management for payment.
- Following those first three months, any request exceeding 20% of the AZ CSP Project Year award is also sent to the AZ CSP Unit for review.
- Link to ADE GME Procedures
Desk review procedures overview: (See link to AZ CSP Monitoring Procedures)
- Before being approved all Project Year Budgets are previewed by the AZ CSP Project Director for application alignment and state and federal compliance.
- All budget amendment requests are submitted through Grants Management Enterprise and reviewed by the Program Specialist and Project Director before approval.
- The status of all account balances of AZ CSP awardees are desk reviewed monthly.
- Awarded schools general ledgers are reviewed annually by desk review in comparison to their Annual project Completion Report.
On site monitoring: (See link to AZ CSP Monitoring Procedures and the Monitoring Handbook)
The AZ CSP Monitoring Handbook is the source document for monitoring AZ CSP awarded schools. It covers three areas. The first two sections align with the awarded school’s grant application which, in turn, are aligned with ESEA 5203, The third section is aligned with state and federal law, policy and procedure.
- Academic leadership
- Financial/Business Operations
AZ CSP does not monitor non-AZ CSP awarded charter schools.
Arizona charter schools were created by the Arizona legislature by Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §15 -181-189. All charter schools are authorized by the Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (save .1% of charter schools which are authorized by school districts or a public university). The Arizona State Board for Charter Schools (ASBCS) is a separate, independent state agency whose Board members are appointed by the governor. It is therefore totally separate from the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). ADE and its subsidiary unit, AZ CSP) has no statutory authority to monitor and oversee the ASBCS. The ASBCS reports to the Arizona legislature annually. A change in legislation would be required to give ADE rulemaking authority over authorizers.
In absence of statutory authority, ADE has established a process of regular meetings with the ASBCS. A representative of AZ CSP attends ASBCS monthly meetings and reviews public minutes of its subcommittee meetings when the representative cannot attend. The AZ CSP Project Director meets monthly with the ASBCS Director of Accountability to receive information on AZ charter schools in fifth and tenth year review and fifteenth year renewal/reauthorization. The Project Director and director of accountability also review AZ CSP awarded schools. All records of ASBCS policies, procedures and actions are published on line for public inspection.