Small business aid money sent to charter schools draws scrutiny

in finance

Beyond the Books investigation calculates a total of $7.9 million in federal Paycheck Protection Act funding was received by Utah charter schools. Charter schools annually receive state and federal funding, while the PPP program is intended to help small businesses to retain employees and keep people on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But because many charter schools are set up as non-profits, or have private management companies that qualify as small businesses, the federal virus aid money was available and awarded. That funding isn’t available to traditional public school districts.

At two local charter schools, the reaction to the new funding influx was audible, thanks to recordings of board meetings that the state requires charter schools to post publicly.

In a June 25 meeting of the board of Utah Military Academy, which has campuses in Riverside and Lehi, an unidentified board member explained how the $1.15 million that the school is expecting from the PPP funding would be spent. Utah Military Academy received more PPP funds than any other Utah charter.

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