Let Me Explain How School Funding Works So You Don’t Assume that Charter Schools Are Taking Money From Districts

I’m confused by the deplorable tactic that the teachers unions are using to perpetuate the myth that charter public schools are stealing money from traditional public schools.  

So this is what I am seeing a lot of these days. The latest thing to do by anti-school choice folks is to take a look at the numbers and then try to shame districts for “losing money to charter schools.”  For example, I read about a district in San Diego that was losing $65.9M per year to charter schools because the kids are signing up and attending local charter public schools. So now the district wants to change the laws around school funding so that they can keep the money in the district even if the student leaves. Hello! Maybe the district should first concern itself with the reasons why kids are leaving in droves to get a better education elsewhere! That’s the more logical way to address the problem. Average Daily Attendance (ADA) follows the student. So, of course, the funding will go to the charter public school (CPS) in the same manner that inmate funding follows the inmate when transferred to a different state institution, or like when a foster child is removed and placed into a different home. The money follows the child. This is not a difficult concept!  

So that was just one school district and I read later about another school district doing the same thing, also complaining about how much money it was “losing” by having the kids enroll in  charter schools versus staying in the traditional public schools (TPS).

This is interesting because as I was reading it my first thought was, “The money does not belong to the school district, the money belongs to the student and it follows the student so the district is not losing anything. The school district still has the ADA for whatever number of students the district has enrolled in whatever low performing school. The district is supposed to budget according to the number of students and their needs, so the district is losing money.”  Again, because the money is following the student like it’s supposed to, at least here in California anyway.

So all that being said, I then noticed that it seems to be coming from teachers associations and unions throughout the state that are putting districts on blast for having lost money to charter school enrollment. My God, these people really hate seeing kids succeed! How low can these people go?  

Obviously the unions and their operatives are trying to get a rise out of folks, and I think for the most part people are easily fooled and believe this nonsense. I can’t believe people are falling for it.  

Here’s what is not being called out: all the other ways that districts lose millions that actually should stay in the schools. Some of the real things that cost districts include clerical and other errors and litigation such as this $4.5M settlement that was paid out due to teachers that sexually molest your kids! There are thousands of these cases throughout districts in California.  These incidences should outrage parents and the teachers unions. But instead, the unions and their political allies are shaming kids and parents for wanting something better for their kids. This has to stop. Charter schools are public schools. We should always support student success first.

What do you think?

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Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia

Leticia Chavez-Garcia is a Mother, Grandmother, former Middle School Teacher, former Member of a School Board of Education and an Education Advocate for hundreds of parents and students in the Inland Empire. Having become a mother at 15, Leticia knows what it’s like to be a single mother trying to navigate the education system. Leticia received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science and Public Administration from California Baptist University and a Masters’ Degree in Education Technology from Cal State Fullerton in her 30’s. Leticia has used her knowledge and experience to help hundreds of families as an Education Advocate in the Inland Empire and currently works as an Education Specialist.

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