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Steve Barr leaves Green Dot board of directors, organization he founded

Steve Barr

Courtesy Green Dot Public Schools

Steve Barr, Founder, Green Dot charter schools

It’s the end of an era. Steve Barr, the founder of the 10,000 student Green Dot charter schools organization, resigned last week from the group’s board of directors, the company announced Monday.

Barr, who stepped down from day-to-day operations in 2009, said other school improvement projects are eating up his time.

“I’m the chair of a board for our school in New York," said Barr. "I’m the chair of the turnaround effort for the school we’re turning around in New Orleans and Green Dot’s board is generally run by an executive committee which I’m not a member of just because I don’t have the time for it."

Green Dot spokesman Gabriel Sanchez said the board of directors didn’t expect Barr’s departure. Barr told the board in an email sent to board chair Marlene Canter. It read, "Please accept my resignation from the board," and nothing else.


L.A. City Council celebrates charter school leaders

The Los Angeles City Council is taking time out from its Friday meeting to praise local charter school advocates as California’s charter school law turns 20 years old.
Los Angeles Councilwoman, and mayoral candidate, Jan Perry has prepared a proclamation for L.A.’s charter school leaders.

“When you talk about parents having choices on how their children are to be educated, this is sort of the manifestation of that,” she said.

Teacher unions have been critical because most charter school faculty members aren’t in a union. A recent study found charter schools in California have larger proportions of low- and high-performing schools than public schools overall.

While an audit released last month faulted federal and California education officials for lax oversight of charters, Perry said the schools are still deserving of praise.
“You have inconsistent results and yes over time some have risen and some have fallen,” Perry said.

Advocates recently celebrated a milestone - there are now 1,000 charter schools in California. There are more than 200 charter schools in the L.A. Unified School District.


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.