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A new report on issues in CMO (Charter Management Organization) finance was released by the National Charter School Research Project based on a symposium convened by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Center of Reinventing Public Education (CRPE). Richard O’Neill, RSS’s president, was one of twenty national experts convened to address CMO financial issues. Among the issues addressed in the report are those about scalability, growth, financial requirements, reliance on philanthropy, and CMO business modeling. Much of the report confirms in general terms the more specific financial information and editorial comment found in RSS’s Annual Survey & Analysis of SMOs (School Management Organizations).

To link to the Center of Reinventing Public Education CMO finance report, click here. To link to information on RSS’s Annual Surveys, click here.

"Nice job on this report. You really have gotten to a level of specificity in here that we haven't seen elsewhere. And interesting findings – especially the inferences you draw from linking inputs to outputs. (For example, that the four highest spenders on HR are among the "success cohort" in terms of student outcomes. That's as interesting to me as the other finding about SMOs that spent higher percentages on administration, generally, producing good outcomes.)"Andy Calkins, Senior Vice President, Mass Insight Education & Research Institute, Boston
"I read it with rapt attention. We're in our budget process now and this report will help us answer questions like: How do we make resource allocation decisions? Are these costs reasonable? What can we learn from others who are delivering results, yet more efficiently? It has been very helpful internally to measure and benchmark our central office expense. As we reflect on how we're structured and our economic drivers, this is helpful."Tom Torkelson, CEO, IDEA Public Schools, Texas
"We found the report filled with useful information. Our board has asked me to re-review the report and identify the most critical benchmarks our organization should be measuring itself against."Ron Manderschied, Vice-Chair of the Board, Noble Network of Charter Schools, Chicago
"The report was very well structured and captured in detail the operations of our organization and the key drivers of cost. It would become an even more powerful benchmarking tool if more organizations joined the study so we could have a more representative sample of organizations to compare ourselves from each State."Marco Petruzzi, President and Chief Operating Officer, Green Dot Public Schools, Los Angeles