US/NC/charter schools

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This issue needs to be researched in more detail, but here is the situation from what I have gleaned from various articles and verbal reports.

If you are a charter school in NC, your funding is based entirely (or mostly?) on how many students show up on the very first day of school. The only exception is if a student is actually in the hospital. Even if a student has to be out of town for a vacation planned months and months earlier, they still have to show up for the first day of class for at least three hours, or else they do not count towards the school's enrollment -- and the school is forced by circumstances to give away that student's spot to the next person in line who can be there. (What's more, as long as the student has shown up on the first day, s/he can be absent for months afterward without affecting the school's funding. It's not, then, a matter of having high standards; the rule is simply arbitrary in the extreme.)

The regular public schools, however, have a twenty day window in which students may show up in order to be counted towards the school's funding.

It seems obvious that this rule is unfairly biased against charter schools. It only inconveniences a very few people, but the conflict can be massive when it does -- and can end up hurting both the child and the school, depending on what ultimately happens.

Also, according to this report:

  • Charter schools in NC do not receive any of the NC Lottery money earmarked for education.
  • In 2007, the average facilities funding for new elementary schools was $21,000,000 each. Charter schools get no facilities funding and must pay for facilities out of their regular operating funds.

On the other hand, according to anecdotal reports from a teacher working in the public school system, when children leave a charter school in the middle of the year and return to a public school, the funding allocated for that child continues going to the charter school.

It's almost as if the laws are set up to give both sides reasons for resentment towards the other, rather than working together for their common cause (public education).

Clearly these inconsistent rules need to be reconciled; we need a uniform set of funding rules so that neither type of school is short-changed when students move between schools.

Also, on 2013-03-14 the state legislature introduced of S337 which would eliminate educational requirements and criminal background checks for charter school teachers -- another two-edged sword. See this for more details.