Today’s testimony before the Primary and Secondary Education Subcommittee was quite revealing about Charter Schools’ concerns with Gov. John Kasich’s new education funding plan. Namely, this reliably Republican constituency was clear about one thing: Kasich’s plan will hurt them.
This is important because if even Charter Schools are saying the funding plan is inadequate, changing the plan becomes more feasible. There is plenty for Charter Schools to be worried about in Kasich’s education plan. The per pupil foundation amount was being dropped from $5,700 per pupil to $5,000 per pupil, Charters weren’t given a guarantee that their funding wouldn’t dip below previous years’ levels, and the economically disadvantaged weighted funding was low.
According to testimony from Stephanie Klupinski of the Ohio Alliance for Public Charter Schools,
“The per pupil amount for Ohio’s charter schools is currently not enough, and we are concerned that HB 59 will make things even more difficult by reducing funding for many public charter schools and widening the gap. …
Schools that will be particularly devastated by the proposed change include e-schools and some of the highest performing charters—schools that attract students from many different districts. Many charters are helping blur district lines by enrolling a cross-section of students, and we don’t want to penalize our charters who serve students from different districts. That, unfortunately, is what we fear this proposal does.
Consider the effect of the proposed changes on Columbus Preparatory Academy (CPA), one of the highest scoring schools in the state with a Performance Index of 111.1. Our simulation estimates that CPA is likely to lose at least $100,000 in funding, even after factoring in funds intended to support enhanced Early Childhood and Gifted services and to address facility inequities. …
Governor Kasich has repeatedly emphasized that no district will receive less under his budget proposal. We think it is only fair and equitable that public charter schools do not receive less per pupil than what they currently receive.”
Klupinski’s testimony mirrored that of other Charter School advocates. Charters don’t like the $5,000 per pupil foundation amount, nor do they like that they’re not going to be getting any guarantees that their funding won’t drop from the previous year.
This is not unlike what traditional public schools have been saying throughout this process. Perhaps we may soon see Charters and traditional public schools come together around a common set of principles for improvement on the funding proposal.