Source: CBS Boston, May 4, 2016
Students, parents and educators from several schools in and around Boston held “walk-ins” before school on Wednesday to protest budget cuts and the allocation of money to charter schools. Demonstrators rallied outside schools before classes began, holding signs and chanting. Leading up to the protest, organizers claimed that charter schools will “siphon off $119,405,100 in funds that would otherwise stay in the Boston Public Schools, and be used to improve learning for all students.” … WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler reported that students and teachers from 50 Boston schools and 80 cities total participated in the walk-ins. … Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker proposed a bill that would allow the state to add up to 12 new or expanded charter schools each year.
The Great Diversion
Source: Gabrielle Gurly, The Nation, April 7, 2016
Boston’s majority-minority public school system is the largest in the state, with nearly 57,000 students. The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the sole authorizer of charter schools, recently approved the addition of more than 1,000 seats in several of the city’s existing charter schools. That expansion means that the district will have to transfer millions more in new charter-school tuition payments, on top of the nearly $120 million that already flows from district schools to the publicly financed, independently run charter schools. Supporters of the Bay State’s traditional public schools have launched a new fight against a bifurcated system that they argue steers public dollars away from district schools across the commonwealth. … Massachusetts currently has 81 charter schools. (Current state law caps the permitted number at 120.) Of the more than 950,000 public school students in the state, 40,200 (4.2 percent) attend charter schools. A school district’s payments to these schools are designed to not exceed 9 percent of its net expenditures. In the state’s poorest-performing districts, the amount cannot exceed 18 percent. But that could change with the ballot initiative, and Massachusetts’s Republican governor, Charlie Baker, is a big supporter of charter-school expansion. … According to a Massachusetts Teachers Association statewide analysis of fiscal 2016 net tuition payments to charter schools, traditional public school districts are losing nearly $409 million to charters, out of total net school spending by these districts of about $11.6 billion.