The state’s highest court earlier this month heard arguments about whether charter schools in Baltimore City should receive the same funding per student as traditional public schools.The case being mentioned is awaiting an opinion from the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Previously, a lower court ruled that aside from a small percentage (around 2-5 percent) for central administrative services like payroll and benefits administration, charter schools are entitled to the same funding level as traditional public schools. Teh basis for the ruling--the plain language of the statutes, which the Examiner points out:
We would like to ask the court a different question: Should parents who send their children to charter schools — which are public schools — pay the same taxes as those who go to traditional public schools?
Why ask? Because their children each receive about half as much money as those in traditional schools for their education. We won’t even mention parents who send their children to private schools and reap no direct benefit from their taxes spent funding public education.
The 2003 Maryland Public Charter Act says the city school board must fund charter schools in a way “commensurate with the amount disbursed to other public schools in the local jurisdiction.” That seems pretty clear. Maybe city public school officials can’t read?In truth, the Baltimore city school board can't even budget its money correctly, let alone allocated funds for charter schools. But I digress, the fact that the adults in the education system are more worried about their own skins is nothing new. But it is not layoffs they are worried about, but pay differences.
That problem at least could be fixed. Their worldview cannot. Supporters of short-shrifting charter schools say paying nearly $11,000 per charter school student could lead to layoffs for those in other public schools. Since when did protecting a few jobs become more important than preparing the 4,000 students in city charter schools for college and gainful employment?
If a charter school had more money, they might be able to pay teachers better and since most charters' teaching staff is outside of union contracts, that increased pay might lead to more teachers wanting to teach at charters--in short leaving the union. We can't have that, now can we.
In conlcusion, the Examiner writes:
Charters should be given the same chance to succeed as other public schools. Restricting their funding only serves those who care more for protecting their jobs than educating students. The court must force the city and all jurisdictions in the state to fund charter schools at the same level as public schools.I think the Maryland Court of Appeals will feel the same way.