Democratic state lawmakers expressed growing distress this week over the management and funding of New Mexico’s three virtual charter schools — which all have ties to private, for-profit corporations — and a new legislative report says these online academies, which serve about 3,400 students across the state, need more oversight.

Rachel Gudgel, director of the Legislative Education Study Committee, presented the report to committee members Thursday, saying the state has few rules to govern distance-learning schools, largely because they have no brick-and-mortar facilities and they draw students from around the state rather than a single district.

The report also said virtual schools, like all charter schools in the state, are receiving more per-student funding than traditional schools in the state, even though they have fewer expenses — a point that drew concern from lawmakers in both political parties.

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