Important meeting in Chester-Upland TONIGHT about local school funding.
There is an important community meeting about local school funding tonight, at 6 pm at Chester High School. Can you attend to support Governor Wolf’s proposal for a fair short term solution to a long term problem?
The issue at stake is how to divide the money between the school district and charter operators and how much charter operators can get for their services.
Here is what is going on (from a recent news article in the Delco Daily Times):
“Chester Upland pays $40,000 per special ed student at Chester Community Charter School, an amount state officials say wildly exceeds costs in other districts. Wolf’s plan would cut that to $16,000 per student — and the $20 million in annual savings would virtually wipe out the school district’s deficit.
In addition to a reduction in charter school special education reimbursements, Wolf’s proposed plan calls for a forensic audit of all district spending over the past five years. The plan also calls for a cap on the reimbursement to cyber charter schools at just below $6,000 per student.
The Delco Daily Times has this update today: http://www.delcotimes.com/opinion/20150825/the-herons-nest-a-double-header-in-chester-upland and following the piece are links to several perspectives on the issue.
The issue here is that the state funding system is so flawed that funding isn’t allocated fairly. Chester-Upland School District doesn’t receive a certain amount per student, or per special education student, but it does have to pay charter operators a set amount, which means that the local school district only gets whatever is left. With decreasing school funding (and it wasn’t ever good in the first place) that is a recipe for disaster.
Furthermore, charter operators do not have to spend the funding they get for special education on special education services.
What Governor Wolf has proposed is a rational and fair short term solution. The real solution is adequate and equitable funding: a funding formula that drives out money in a fair way and enough money to provide for the educational needs of every child. But until the legislature acts, we must find a more fair way to distribute funds.
Charter schools have a role to play in meeting the needs of children and communities, but they must not be “first in line” for funding. The funding must be distributed fairly. Charter school parents are understandably concerned that their schools will lose funding, but it must not be acceptable to anyone that some schools get more funding for special education than they provide in services while other students go without.
Please attend tonight’s meeting and speak up FOR Governor Wolf’s fair funding reforms for Chester.