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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Will Charter Schools Get a Charge Off?

I'm sorry to go geek on you, but I have to in order to fully explain the point of this post. In Gov. John Kasich's new biennial budget, he wants to allow charter schools to collect local revenue on top of their state revenue. Just like districts, he argues. So that's fair and equitable, right?

Well, maybe. See, here's the issue. When a district raises local revenue, the state counts that against them on their state money. So if a district can raise, say 50% of the cost of educating kids in their district, the state picks up the other 50%. This elimination of 50% of their state revenue to be filled in by local revenue is what's called a "charge off."

However, it appears that in Kasich's budget proposal, the local revenue charters raise would not be counted against their state money.

So, charter schools would receive all the state money the state says they need (right now, the minimum charter school deduction from school districts is about $1,600 more than what the average Ohio district gets from the state because of this "charge off"), plus local revenue on top of that. Meanwhile, school districts receive significantly less state money than the state says they need with their local revenue making up the difference.

Doesn't sound quite so fair now, does it?

What's ironic is that Ohio's public school advocates have clamored for years for the state to fund them exactly as the charter schools that get local revenue would be funded under Kasich's plan.

If we want charter and traditional school funding to be equitable (as charter advocates have claimed they want), then the state must do one of two things with this new local funding element: eliminate the charge off for districts, or create one for charters.

Any other way seems pretty unfair.