Brian Rosenthal had one more small article on this subject and it, again, is about McGilvra.
In 2000, SPS and McGilvra had a contract to allow McGilvra a way to hold the line on their class sizes. To whit:
The oddity started in 2000, when parents at the small and then-low-performing school in Madison Park negotiated a unique contract: The PTA would buy two portable classrooms for about $120,000 and pay $200,000 per year to put teachers in them. In return, the district would keep the school's class sizes low or provide extra programs for the next 20 years.
It was an agreement unlike anything District Attorney Ron English had ever seen, he said.
And it worked for a decade.
But last year, amid implementation of a neighborhood-based assignment plan, overcrowding at some schools and pressure about the fairness to other schools, the district opted out of the contract, paying a $60,000 buyout fee.
I knew this was happening but I didn't know its status since the NSAP. Smart of McGilvra to make sure if anything changed, they got some money back out of it. But then, money does talk.
What is telling is a comment from the first article:
"Of course it's unfair. Of course it is," said Bill Crawford, president of the Roxhill Elementary PTA, which typically raises less than $5,000 per year. "That's the way the world is."
I agree with Mr. Crawford; that's life. That's what puzzles me about the charter school push for choice. State governments, in their role of providing public education, are not doing it to give parents choices. They simply do not have the money to provide choice. That most urban areas offer different schools beyond neighborhood schools - call them magnet, option, alternative, whatever - is a function of economies of scale, not because they believe parents deserve choice.
So this idea that we need charters because we need choice seems false to me (especially given the state of the economy). If a school is consistently low-performing and district efforts fail, then the state should take it over (and indeed the bill has this aspect in it).
As adults, we know the world isn't fair and really, we can advocate for better but we can't change how others view it. McGilvra operates more on the end of a private school than most public schools in this district but the parents there are able to create that model. I don't see it as good or bad; it just is.