Mark Gotz, a member of the Florida Association of Independent Schools, objected to rules that eliminate charter facility funding if they receive an ‘F’ school grade or two consecutive grades below a ‘C’. Public schools with low grades do not lose their facility funding. Why the difference?
Charter schools are privately owned. If the school fails academically, the building reverts to the private owner, not the school district. The money to operate charters comes from the Florida treasury; it is public money. Why should public tax dollars fund private real estate companies? The real question is why should charters exist if they do not improve achievement?
Gotz complained to the State Board of Education that it is difficult to keep school grades up in low income areas. Traditional public schools know that. Creating charters does not help that problem. In fact, charters too often skim the better students in low income areas making it even more difficult for traditional public schools to fund their programs. The tax money for each student who leaves goes with the student.
The result is that public schools become under enrolled, and charters are small and inefficient. No one wins. Dividing money among charters, public and private schools just ensures that no sector is adequately funded. Separating students by income and achievement creates school climate problems that can cause a ‘winners vs. losers’ mentality leading to even more difficulties.
It is too bad that there are so many vested interests in perpetuating the duplication of charters where they are not needed. They just make everything worse for the neighborhoods.