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History of Charter/Community School Costs

The attached "invoice" below notes the year-to-year charges deducted from our district's State funding by the Ohio Department of Education that has been used to fund Charter/Community schools since their inception in 1999.  Total cost to local taxpayers since inception:  $1,964,075.54.

 

Charter School facts:

1 Charter schools are privately operated but publicly funded. Since they're privately operated, charters are exempt from 150 state laws that public schools must comply with as they serve a public purpose in a community setting.

2 Our public schools are governed by our publicly elected school board, neighbors who are voted in office to serve us. Charter schools have unelected boards that are hand-picked by the private school operator, and there is no legal requirement that these individuals even live in the community where the charter school is located, be elected by the public or the parents served by the school, or even be American citizens.

3 Since most charter schools are run by for-profit management companies that are private enterprises, they are not obligated to disclose the salaries of the school leaders or of other employees of the school.

4 Researchers around the country have shown that many charter school administrator salaries are much higher than school district superintendents. In New York City, for example, the salaries for charter school administrators who are responsible for only a handful of schools are paid more than double the salary of the public school chancellor, who is responsible for nearly 1,600 schools. http:/www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/top-16-nyc-charter-school-execs-out-earn-chancellor-dennis-walcott-article-1.1497717

5 Under Ohio law, there is no legal requirement for the charter school leader to have any kind of professional license or even a degree.

6 The deductions for state financial aid for charter school students from a school district's allocation exceed the amount per pupil of state aid going to that district, a fact documented in the Columbus Dispatch. Residents of public school districts whose children attend a local public school are being deprived of public tax dollars needed for public education in order to support privately operated and non-transparent charter schools.http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/09/09/ohios-charter-schools-essentially-get-local-property-tax-money.html

7 Not only do public school districts receive less state aid per pupil than charter schools, they must also provide transportation for charter students to their schools, an additional expense incurred by public school districts in order to support these privately operated schools.

8 Many national studies have shown that charter schools normally serve a smaller percentage of students with special needs, children who require additional support at an increased cost per pupil. Public schools, our community schools, are pledged to serve all children.

There is a new tool that allows school district residents to look up important data about the condition and performance of their community schools and compare that to charter schools. Go to this website to find out more specific information: http://knowyourcharter.com/

As citizens look at these examples of how charter schools receive public tax dollars but otherwise operate freely due to 150 exemptions in state law that public school districts otherwise must follow, they are concerned about what kind of schools they really are. Here is one important development that has been felt in Ohio: In September 2015, the Washington Supreme Court, in a landmark ruling that was felt across the country, held that "taxpayer-funded charter schools are unconstitutional, reasoning that charters are not truly public schools because they aren't governed by elected boards and therefore not accountable to voters."https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/what-makes-a-public-school-public-washington-state-court-finds-charter-schools-unconstitutional/2015/09/08/706975c8-5632-11e5-8bb1-b488d231bba2_story.html

Information provided by Ohio Equity and Adequacy

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Tom Baker,
Feb 19, 2016, 7:00 AM
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