Private Donors Set to Fund Charters if State Doesn't

From KPLU:

A network of donors will step up if necessary to keep Washington state's nine charter schools open through the school year, a leading charter advocate said Tuesday, even if public dollars stop flowing in the wake of a state Supreme Court decision voiding Washington's charter school law.

Tom Franta, who heads the Washington State Charter Schools Association, said his organization has reached out to a network of something like 50 donors — whom Franta declined to identify — that can help cover the estimated $14 million necessary to cover all nine schools' operating costs through the end of the year.

Here's some remaining mysteries:
- First Place Scholars never seems to get a mention in all these but they, too, are scheduled to open tomorrow (according to their Facebook page).
- how do nine schools need over a $1M each?  Most are under 300 students.

I spoke with the Charter Commission's Executive Director, Joshua Halsey, this morning.  He said that the Commission may be winding down its work if they have no funding.  Who then, would oversee these schools that remain open?  He said he didn't know the answer to that or even if it would be legal for them to stay open. 

The court's ruling — which held charter schools are not entitled to any public funding because they lack the oversight of elected boards — could potentially cut off state funding to the schools as soon as Sept. 24, according to the state's top charter official, Joshua Halsey.
But Franta says his organization is exploring legal maneuvers that would delay that funding cutoff. Charter association lawyers plan to file a motion asking state high court justices to reconsider their ruling. The association is also exploring whether they can appeal the ruling in federal courts.

I don't think the Supreme Court will reconsider.  They can say that operators knew this was a possibility and they should have taken steps to protect their schools.  As well, I cannot see what federal issues there are (and more than more lawyer agrees with me).

The Court sent the ruling back to King County Court which had handled the original case.  That answer should be back within 20 days (probably around the 24th).  The state money would likely cut-off around September 30th.


Po3 said…
If I had a kids in a charter I would be re-enrolling them in SPS. Way too much uncertainty for me to live with.

Patrick said…
$1M divided by 300 students is $3300 per student... isn't that a lot less per student than public schools use? Maybe I'm misunderstanding the issue.
Anonymous said…
Why don't those private donors just keep those private -- oops -- I mean 'charter' -- schools going period?

If they want their toys, have at it. But, like all private schools, don't make me pay for your family's choice. Go public, or, go private, but, private is private, and, my tax dollars are NOT for that. Don't tell me charters are 'public' schools. They are not. Go ask the Supreme Court if you don't believe me.

$15M / 9 schools = $1,666,666 per school.

IF a school has 300 students, that is $5,555 per student. That is a lot more than the BEA, the Basic Education Allocation from the State.

Charters, you lost. You were destined to lose, because, like everyone honest was saying at the very outset, before the vote even occurred, the law as written was illegal. So, your poor sports ways have caught up with you. Stop whining! Stop being disingenuous!!

If you want a Charter system, then design a legal one, and, ask the populace, and let democracy reign. But, no more BS end runs around the ever so inconvenient Constitution. Ever seen the dead horse memo? If the dead horse isn't winning the race, switching riders, or, feeding it better hay, or, yoke it to another dead horse. But, those idiotic tactics STILL won't make it cross the finish line. The interview on NPR I heard today was prime Dead Horse double speak at it's worst. As our middle schooler says, "grab a clue".

Constitution Counts

Anonymous said…
I've always thought this experiment should be done with private funds. Potentially then, the funders, playing with their own money, would recognize the issues of designing dual bureaucracies for educating the children.

And, on this scale, it's totally feasible as a private endeavor. Why did they ever need to divert money from the state? 15 million is well within the bank accounts of the money that floats around in Seattle.

Watching said…
Private funding for "public" charter schools? (!)

To me, it appears we've reached the expected cross-roads of privatizers wanting charter schools to be "public" when convenient.

Clearly, there is NO sound legal path forward, and a few individuals are making things -up as we go along. The Charter Commission failed to provide a solid legal path forward.
Anonymous said…
So Washington Policy Center wrote:

"WPC calls on Legislature to protect the charter school education of 1,300 children from the unjust decision of the state Supreme Court"

... So $14 million for 1,300 children.

Do the math => $14 million / 1300 students = $10,789 per year per student.

Inquiring Mind

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