Ohio

Eye on Education

Report Fuels Debate About Ohio’s Method For Funding Charter Schools

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KRISTIE WELLS / FLICKR

A new report adds to the ongoing tension between publically funded, but privately operated charter schools and traditional public schools.

Innovation Ohio’s recent analysis shows that half of the money transferred from school districts to charter schools in the 2012-2013 school year went to charters with lower performance ratings on the state report card.

The report also finds that all of the money transferred to charters results in six percent less money for kids in traditional districts.

Stephen Dyer, a fellow with the left leaning think tank, says the report points to what he thinks is a fundamental flaw in the way that charter schools are funded.

“The problem is the funding that goes to the charter school is based on the amount it costs to educate the kid in the traditional public school,” he says. “But charter schools don’t have to worry about busing, their teachers don’t make as much money, they don’t have union contracts—their costs just aren’t the same.”

Dyer says he looked at 6,000 instances money transferred to charter schools from their feeder districts, and he compared the performance ratings of the districts to the ratings of those charters. The report shows 84 percent of those transfers went from districts with better performance than the charter schools.

Dyer says one of his root concerns is where those charter schools spend the money.

“They’re really out spending traditional public schools on administration, and they pay a lot more for that,” he says.

But Jesse Truett, interim director of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools, says the report paints an inaccurate picture of charters.

“Some of the higher administrative costs are due to a lower efficiency of scale,” Truett says, since charter schools are much smaller than districts.  And he says that there are a lot of charter schools that are not tied to management companies like White Hat–a company that has been widely criticized for the way it manages state dollars.

Charter schools receive state aid per student, but most do not receive local tax dollars and largely have to rent or purchase their own school buildings.

Truett says he understands the concern about poor performing charters and says his organization wants fair accountability for those schools too.

“At the end of the day, there are 130,000 kids in charters and I don’t think that’s going to go away,” he says.  ”The better that charters serve our kids, then we can have better conversations about the right school choices for kids.”

Comments

  • Jackson Tittle

    Charter schools are a wonderful way to destroy public education and make a fortune for the charter school owners. The maximum amount a teacher can earn in most charter schools is about $29,000–that is the maximum!
    No wonder that the teacher job lists are full of charter school jobs–Low pay, poor working conditions(no unions), and zero job security. Who would want to teach in a place where you are not valued as a professional?

  • Ted_Zee_Man

    ANY PERSON CAPABLE OF USING THEIR MIND TO THINK HAS TO KNOW THAT THE COST TO EDUCATE A CHILD IN A PRIVATE SCHOOL ALWAYS HAS TO COST MORE THAN IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL FOR ONE VERY SIMPLE REASON, “PROFIT.”

    SO EVERY OWNER, ADMINISTRATOR, TEACHER, COUNSELOR, DIETITIAN OR SANITARY ENGINEER HAS THE GOAL TO REDUCE COSTS.

    [1.] REDUCE THE SETTINGS FOR HEAT IN THE WINTER, AND INCREASE THE SETTINGS FOR COOLING IN THE SUMMERS.

    [2.] CLEAN EVERY OTHER DAY OR ONLY WHEN YOU EASILY SEE THE DIRT.

    [3.] LIMIT THE COURSE TO THE ABSOLUTE MINIMUM THE STATE REQUIRES.

    [4.] PERFORM NO MAINTENANCE, UNTIL IT FAILS OR COLLAPSES.

    [5.] PURCHASE FOOD SUPPLIES THAT HAVE AN EXPIRED OR SOON TO EXPIRE USE BY DATE.

    [6.] USE COMPUTER PROGRAMS FOR TEACHING AND HIRE ONLY THOSE TEACHERS WHO CANNOT GET EMPLOYMENT IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

    [7.] PLACE TEACHERS THAT ARE AVAILABLE IN CLASSES THAT THEY WERE NOT TRAINED TO TEACH. BECAUSE YOU HIRED THEM CHEAP.

    [8.] PROVIDE NO SUPPLIES AND HAVE THE STUDENTS PURCHASE ALL BOOKS AND SUPPLIES.

    [9.] PROVIDE NO EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, AND NO FIELD TRIPS WITHOUT THE CHILD PAYING FOR THEM.

    [10.] PROVIDE A CONSERVATIVE BASED AGENDA THAT IS BASED ON THE RIGHT-WING CHRISTIAN RELIGION.

    [11.] ONLY DISCIPLINE THE MINORITIES.

    [12.] MAINTAIN THE FROM SCHOOL TO PRISON PIPELINE. SOMETIMES THE OWNER OF THE SCHOOL ALSO OWNS THE PRISONS.

    [13.] PROVIDE NO SEX EDUCATION CLASSES AND ONLY TEACH ABSTINENT.

    [14.] TEACH ONLY CREATIONISM AND DO NOT INCLUDE EVOLUTION OR SCIENCE..

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