Charter School Position Statement
The SOSKY coalition opposes charter schools because they are a threat to public education in Kentucky. Where charter schools are allowed, public schools suffer, taxpayers are swindled, and students are worse off. And we have 25 years of evidence to prove it.
Concerns about charter schools are numerous but generally fall into four categories: financial, quality, rights of students, democracy. In order to prevent concerns turning into reality, we feel charter school legislation must include the following:
- Financial concerns – Neither individuals nor corporations should profit from taxpayer dollars. In order to prevent such profiting, we suggest the following provisions:
- Non-profit – All charter schools should be non-profit. Any management companies involved in running charter schools should be non-profit.
- Transparency – Every penny needs to be traceable and the public needs to understand how much of their money is being spent per student in the classroom, how much each teacher is earning, how much each administrator is earning, and how much any management company employees are earning.
- Source of funding – Funding for charter schools should not reduce the funding for public schools. Charter schools should receive the same amount of funding as public schools per student, but that funding should not follow the student out of the public school. Any grant funding received by the charter school should result in a comparable decrease in funding from the state or district.
- Real estate – property that is purchased using district dollars should return to the district, should a charter school in that district close.
- There should be a minimum enrollment requirement of 75% capacity before any initial funding is provided to a charter school or management company. Subsequent funding should be provided only if the charter school maintains at least 70% capacity.
- Quality of education
- Charter school teachers must have the same certifications and requirements as public school teachers.
- Charter school curriculum must meet the same standards as public schools in the district in which the charter school resides.
- Charters school students should be subject to the same assessments as schools in the district in which the charter school resides.
- Student rights
- No religious affiliation and no religious curriculum.
- Charter schools must accept all students in the reside district who apply and charter schools cannot remove a student from the school except as otherwise provided for in the reside school district.
- Charter schools must meet all of the needs of all students, including as required under any student’s IEP and provide for free or reduced price lunch and transportation.
- The student body of any particular charter should mirror the area in which the charter school is located.
- The needs of the students enrolled in any particular charter school must be taken into account when considering the closure of a charter school.
- Local school boards should authorize charter schools.
- Before authorization, there should be a time for public comment on any particular charter school.
- All meetings and records that would be available to the public in a public school should also be available for every charter school.