Writing in State Impact, John O’Connor reminds readers that there’s a clear way to demonstrate why charter schools aren’t being mistreated and don’t deserve the extra money all that hand wringing at Monday’s hearing implied.
Some education advocates dispute that notion, arguing that local money for construction should go toward publicly-owned facilities. Charter school facilities and land are sometimes owned by private charter school boards or a for-profit management company.
In addition, charter schools are not required to meet the same building codes or provide the same programs — such as reading requirements — as traditional district schools. School officials have asked the state legislature to apply the same requirements to district schools as charter schools.
Likewise, the Florida TaxWatch analysis notes that their funding comparison does not filter out money for programs such as free and reduced lunch, which district schools must provide but not all charter schools do.
StateImpact Florida has reported extensively on the differences in service that district schools and charter schools are required to provide. Our investigation found 86 percent of Florida charter schools do not enroll any students with profound disabilities — the most expensive students to educate.
Florida Tax Watch is an arm of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and can be considered biased. At least they admitted that all charters don’t abide by free and reduced policies. Its doubtful that they could come up with the same conclusion in their calculus if disabled students were included.
All that orchestrated sanctimony at Monday’s hearing for SB1852 about fairness and being about the kids is disingenuous – especially when the neediest kids weren’t even part of the equation. Steve Wise is advancing this bill as if these factors don’t even exist. So were the other republican members of the committee. And so are Jeb Bush and the Walton-funded charter school lobby
Which possibility is worse for Florida’s children? That this bunch are ignoring these fiscal realities to advance their privatization agenda? Or that they arent even aware of it?