Critics say charter bill shortchanges school districts

The Delta School District has had a financial deficit every year for a decade. By law it must have a balanced budget and therefore cuts are often made.- Black Press file

They voted in favor of Dr. Kelly providing them with a balanced budget and a list of the district's additional needs.

They estimate that charter schools receive nearly $200 million a year in special education payments above the cost of teaching the special education students enrolled in their classes.

Plattsburgh City School District has adopted a 2017-18 budget that calls for a 2.9 percent tax-levy increase, which is below the amount allowed in the state cap.

At least two members of the school board say they plan to vote against the budget.

Valerie Tatum, superintendent of Covenant Keepers charter school, and Deron Hamilton, the school's accountant, defend the financial situation of the s. On Thursday, they chose to table the vote.

The most contested bill, SB 808, was pulled by its author late Monday night and put on a two-year timetable for further discussion. All four board members who voted for the resolution - McKenna, co-author Scott Schmerelson, Richard Vladovic, and board president Steve Zimmer - have received teachers union support in their elections. Smith said commissioners don't plan to raise taxes, but he said they understand the need. State law doesn't provide for that classification for charter schools, he said. "We have to be sensitive to the realities that shaped operators not being able to sustain the work".

Tuesday's vote came four weeks before the May 16 school board runoff, and board members noted that depending on the election's outcome, next year's board might have voted differently on the resolution.

Princeton Charter and the school board have fought over the enrollment expansion, one that the acting state Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington approved, despite fierce opposition from the community.

Superintendent of Schools Stephen C. Cochrane said Wednesday that one of the teachers would be assigned to Community Park Elementary School, while he has not decided where the other one will go.

Greg Rogers, the Education Department's assistant commissioner for fiscal and administrative services and a member of the Charter Authorizing Panel, told his panel colleagues that the Covenant Keepers' negative balances would have resulted in a traditional school being placed in the state's fiscal-distress program.

Pennsylvania's current way of paying charter schools is based on the cost of educating each student in the conventional school system. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) would help avoid this scenario by allowing the local authorizer, the locally elected school board, to determine what is best in the local district.

However, the main opponent of the bills, the California Charter Schools Association, dismissed the Los Angeles Unified board's resolution as political theater that won't have an impact on the legislation. The school has a negative net worth of $5.6 million, he said. As you can see, the academic achievement is not present.

About 1,000 kindergarten to eighth-grade students attend the charter school, located in the Cobb Center Shopping Center on South Cobb Drive near Windy Hill Road in Smyrna.

But having enough students wasn't the focus when the ASD began taking over low-performing schools in 2012 and recruiting charter operators to turn them around.

Yetta Lewis, co-founder and CEO of Gestalt Community Schools, answers questions from parents and teachers during an October assembly at Humes Preparatory Academy Middle School.

The sector now enrolls about a 10th of the state's 6.2 million public school students.

The charter panel had conducted a hearing on the school in March but tabled any decision until Wednesday's meeting to give the school leaders time to make progress on correcting a range of concerns.



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