Fitch Ratings is evaluating Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale's report that outlined 11 findings of "significant noncompliance" by Chester Community Charter School and accused it of receiving nearly $1.3 million in improper lease reimbursements on its own buildings from the state.
Fitch rates the school BB with a stable outlook.
"Fitch is evaluating the ramifications of the report, if any, on Chester Community Charter School's outstanding credit rating and outlook," the rating company said in a statement.
The 80-page audit, released Aug. 21, covered May 20, 2012 through April 22, 2013. Pennsylvania's largest charter school draws most of its 3,200 students from the distressed Chester Upland School District, about 15 miles southwest of Philadelphia.
Chester Upland, one of four school districts labeled distressed under the state's intercept program, consists primarily of the impoverished city of Chester as well as the borough of Upland and Chester Township.
The school in its response accused DePasquale of wielding an anti-charter agenda.
DePasquale urged the state Department of Education to recoup the $1.3 million, which the audit said Chester Community received between 2008 and 2011. Other findings ranged from failing to comply with teacher certification provisions of the federal No Child Left Behind act and inaccurate reporting of child accounting data to the Pennsylvania information management system.
Charter school funding could be up for debate when Pennsylvania lawmakers convene on Sept. 23 for the fall session. State Sen. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, introduced a bill that would require charters to undergo more detailed disclosure and an annual audit, and comply with open meetings and open records laws.