Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What if ISD's Were Funded Like Charters?

I recently read an interesting article posted by Raise Your Hand Texas relating to funding of charter schools.  Quoting from the RYHT post on December 7, "... the charter school finance report (was) commissioned by Raise Your Hand Texas to analyze the financing of Texas open-enrollment charter schools, and compare funding to that of Texas public school districts".  The report was commissioned in the Spring of 2014 through Moak, Casey & Associates (MCA).  Click on charter school finance report to access the executive summary of the report.

As I read through the executive summary, I was probably most surprised by the finding that, if ISD's were funded like charters, they would receive an additional $4.7B in funding.  Especially in light of the ongoing school finance litigation now before the Texas Supreme Court, this should be an eye-opening finding for all parties.  Imagine what the 1000+ school districts in Texas could do for the 5.2 million public education students if a different funding model (and revenue source) was in play!

Part of the mystique about charter schools is how little the public knows about the role and structure of charter schools in Texas.  While certainly acknowledged as public schools, they do not face the same requirements relating to accountability as public ISD's do.  They also have the benefit of being able to select (and deselect) their student population.   

I encourage public education advocates and stakeholders to learn more about charter schools.  This is not about denying those who attend charter schools the opportunity for a quality public education.  But it is about leveling the playing field and holding charters to the same system and standards as public ISD's in the State of Texas.  

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