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Monday, February 25, 2013

Money should never follow the student or why do the parents of charter school students think they are special?

Let me ask you a question. Is it just the parents of students who attend charter schools or who go to private schools that pay taxes? Are they the only ones that foot the bill? What, you say, even people without kids have to pay taxes, and people whose kids have grown up have to pay taxes too? Then why is it voucher and charter school proponents think their taxes should follow the money to the school that they are sending their kids too?

Let me ask you another question. Are parents forced to home school their kids or to send them to charter schools or private schools? What, you are saying that is their choice? Then why should the public subsidize those choices? Also did you know very few parents pay in taxes what the state pays to educate their child? The system depends on people without children or whose children have graduated to chip in too.

I believe if some people don’t like the public option they are presented and want to opt out then they not the public should be responsible for that choice and it is a choice that they are making. Furthermore we all pay into a public education system, whether we have kids in it or not is because that is one of the institutions that benefit us all. The stronger it is the better all of society is and once again that applies whether we have kids attending public schools or not.

I bring this up because of the chutzpah that some of the parents have demanding that their tax money follow their children and the nerve of charter school operators to demand local public school systems tax money. Nobody has forced parents to send their kids to charter schools and nobody forced charter schools to open and certainly owner operators knew what they were getting into when they took the task upon their shoulders. Or you would hope so anyways.

Since 1992 of the 6700 charter schools that have opened over a thousand have failed and of those about half was because of financial reasons. I wonder of those how many were paying their principals, usually the owner operator too, hundreds of thousands of dollars, or who were paying their relatives high salaries for no show jobs or jobs that traditionally pay a lot less.

Here in Florida we don’t have any idea because of the lax accountability standards the Florida Legislature has bestowed upon charter school. Remember it was just in 2011 that the operator of a failed charter school with an enrollment of about 120 took home 800 grand after years of taking home salaries higher than most public school superintendents. Furthermore you can’t go a week without reading the story if this charter school or that closing, having financial irregularities or demanding more taxpayer dollars.

And this is where we want our money to go?

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