Wednesday, February 13, 2019

How should charter schools be funded, anyway?

We seem to have a solid pushback happening on this charter funding issue. The first place that happened was Vice Chair James Morton's argument on the expansion of Excel Academy, which Katie Lannan of State House News captured well:
Morton, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Boston, said he was "deeply troubled by the dilemma that I think we get placed in every time there's a charter proposal in front of us."
"We find ourselves in a position of diverting resources from one opportunity to another without ever really addressing the underlying issue, which is finding some other source of funding for charter schools so that we can have both our public school children getting what they need and our charter school children having an opportunity to attend charter schools that might be a Montessori school that addresses the way they particularly might learn," he said. "It's going to get pretty close to the moment where I vote against anything until we deal with that underlying issue, and I think that moment is today."
Morton was among the four opposed.

On the same day, the Local Government Advisory Commission had their regular meeting with the Lieutenant Governor, and their reaction to the state's funding of education ended up in a similar place:
Massachusetts Municipal Association Executive Director Geoff Beckwith said he hoped that the dialogue could continue with the administration and the Legislature, and that both would consider "integrating in a more aggressive way a solution to the charter school problem as a way to bridge the severe fiscal challenges of the largest school districts in the state and the smallest school districts."
And note the quotes from Sandwich and from Northampton. The Governor's budget's "smoothing" of charter reimbursement plus the "supplemental" funding on charter reimbursement going to high wealth communities hits many communities hard.
Don't forget: the House and Senate budgets are still to come. If this doesn't work SPEAK UP.

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