The Department of Education deems Charter schools as public schools. The number of Charter schools has tripled since 2001 from 1,993 to 6,855 in 2016. The costs of these schools increased with $253 million being awarded as supplemental funding for Charters from the DOE in 2017. That’s money that isn’t being directed to your public schools. Some of you may think, well Charter schools are better so why shouldn’t our kids get ahead through our taxes?
The demographics of Charter schools exposes the myths of a better education. The enrollment ethnicity of Charter schools is very interesting. It’s as if to maintain funding the schools are ensuring equality of enrollment: Whites 33%, Blacks 27%, Hispanics 32% and others fill in the gaps. But that’s the only equality you’ll see. A typical public school within your living area normally must enroll any child in a certain vicinity of their address. Charter schools get to pick and choose through a lottery system from anywhere in a town or city. Even though taxes are paid from your address, your kid needs to hit the lottery to attend. That’s unfair and unequal use of your taxes-twice over since federal dollars boost their funding.
Charter schools can be nonprofit or for profit. Your tax dollars are diverted to private companies. These companies’ expenses are not audited or made completely public in audits since it’s a private business. We can see their tax statements if you can get through the red tape but not the full budget like a public school. Where is our money going and to whom?
According to a report by the Network for Public Education taxpayers have lost $1 billion dollars to Charter school scams. The private audit reviewed hundreds of documents and found a scathing amount of fraud. In California, 74 of the 306 schools that received Charter school funding are ghost schools-they receive funding but never begin operations. Besides California, our nation was scammed. The report found 1 out of every 3 federal and state pass-through funding of Charter schools never opened or shut their doors. These funds could have easily been diverted to traditional public schools that already have an enrollment.
One example is necessary to emphasize the funding glut from a story in the National memo. In Delaware, a school applied for Charter funds for nearly three years. It received two grants of $525,000 and $609,000 before opening its doors in 2015 with another $600,000 when it opened. Due to illegal activities, campus violence and inept service for students its doors closed 5 months after opening in January 2016. We the People invested more than a million dollars in someone’s dream of a school. The business community says it takes at least two years for a new business to begin flourishing but at a million and a half dollars, that’s one grand opening. These stories of a failed Charter school system continue to rise.
We the People should have the ability to vote on schools that are funded with our money through ballot referendums. The first ballot question should be, Do We the People agree to fund a new Charter school in our district? The second should be, Do We the People insist that audits of all Charter school business plans before and during operations be made public? The third is the most important question. Do We the People insist that all funding for Charter schools be equally matched for other schools in the district? It’s our right as citizens of the United States to direct our policies for ourselves and our futures.