Fixin for a fight

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The Governor has frequently talked about his openness to lifting the cap on charter schools, but only with a financing fix, which certainly means reducing the funding to charters below the average per-pupil expenditures within the district school system. Say community X spends $10K per student in the traditional district schools, the new formula would halve that amount for parents of kids in the district who choose to go to a charter school.

That’s what the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and Mass Association of School Committees want. The Governor has shown openness to this view, which of course makes charters financially unviable.

I’ve often wondered about this proposal given all the court cases out there pushing for equitable funding of schools (and more recently discussions around “adequacy”).

Shouldn’t charters have equitable funding? What about vocational-technical schools, and other types of schools where parents opt-in?

Hello? Maryland calling Massachusetts. Anybody home?

Over the summer the Maryland Court of Appeals settled an instructive matter on just this topic. According to WTOP News,

Last academic year, the Baltimore school system’s budget contained the equivalent of more than $13,000 per child for public school students, though not all of that was spent directly on children. Charter schools received $5,859 per child in cash and the rest in services.

Sounds like the MASS and MASC view of the world. In a 5-2 majority vote, the MD CoA determined that MD’s charter schools students are “entitled” to the same level of funding as district schools.

So, going forward, Baltimore district schools will get $13K per student and so will charters.

Someone tell me, why do we keep reverting to ugly conversations–conversations reminiscent of a terrible history when we accepted unequal rights, when that was thought OK?

Anybody want to bring a lawsuit on this, if the “fix” is in, in Massachusetts? If there is a move to shortchange charter students, I’ll guarantee you there will be one and the MD CoA decision will be a very interesting part of the discussion.

We’ll win.