Category Archives: Charter Schools

D.C. to establish a hybrid traditional-charter school in Southeast

Source: Emma Brown, Washington Post, May 9, 2013

A long-struggling Southeast D.C. elementary school will undergo a renovation and then reopen under the management of a high-performing charter school, Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced Wednesday evening. ….. . Neighborhood children will have a right to attend the new Malcolm X, she said, but the school’s leaders will have charter-like freedom to run the building as they see fit. … It is also not yet clear whether the school’s teachers will be subject to collective bargaining– a key difference between unionized school system and union-free charter schools.

The Dirty Dozen: How Charter Schools Influence Student Enrollment

Source: Kevin Welner, Teachers College Record, April 22, 2013

This commentary offers a classification of twelve different approaches that charter schools use to structure their student enrollment. These practices impact the likelihood of students enrolling with a given set of characteristics, be it higher (or lower) test scores, students with ‘expensive’ disabilities, English learners, students of color, or students in poverty….
See also:
Press release

Charter School Teachers Join the Union

Source: Samantha Winslow, Labor Notes, April 22, 2013

Teachers at Ivy Academia in Los Angeles are the latest to join a wave of union organizing victories at charter schools. Fifty-six teachers and counselors joined the L.A. teachers’ union in February, following on the heels of schools in Michigan and New York. The American Federation of Teachers says its affiliates now represent 8,000 members at 191 charter schools. The National Education Association co-represents many charters with AFT and calculates there are about 625 unionized charters total. Ivy teachers make less than public school teachers and are given extra job duties outside the classroom, said Tom Kuhny, a middle school teacher at Ivy for seven years….

Phila. schools’ cash crunch may cut charter growth

Source: Martha Woodall, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 27, 2013

Citing a $304 million shortfall, the Philadelphia School District announced Thursday that it would recommend against expanding any charter schools in 2013-14… Twenty-one of the district’s 84 charter schools requested expansions in the next academic year that would have added a total of 15,000 seats. The district, in its statement, said the expansions would have added $500 million in charter costs to the district over the next five years. As the school system struggles to find a way to deal with its projected deficit, principals of district-run schools have been told their budgets will be slashed by 25 percent for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Study: Charters get less funding than traditional public schools

Source: Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post, April 17, 2013

Public charter schools received significantly less funding than traditional public schools in five cities, including the District, between 2007 and 2011, according to a new study released Wednesday. … The study, funded by the pro-charter Walton Family Foundation, analyzed private and public dollars spent to educate students in the District, Denver, Newark, Los Angeles and Milwaukee. It is scheduled to be published in the Journal of School Choice this year.
See also:
Draft: Education’s Fiscal Cliff, Real Or Perceived? Public Education Funding During the Economic Downturn and the Impact on Public Charter Schools
Source: Larry Maloney, Meagan Batdorff, Jay May & Michelle Terrell, Journal of School Choice, forthcoming

Walton Family Foundation press release

Unions’ Charter-School Push / Labor Looks to Organize in an Educational Sector That Has Largely Kept It Away

Source: Stephanie Banchero, Caroline Porter, Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2013
(subscription required)

Charter schools have spread across the country while generally keeping organized labor out, with operators saying they can manage schools better when their staffs aren’t unionized. But labor groups are now making a big push to get a stronger foothold in this educational realm. Here in Chicago, a branch of the American Federation of Teachers is looking to organize one of the nation’s largest nonprofit charter-school groups. … Labor leaders say they want to organize charters because teachers there complain about low pay and poor working conditions, and because unionized teachers can negotiate favorable conditions for students, such as small class sizes. But others say the push has as much to do with unions’ declining membership.

Bill strips Texas Board of Education of its charter school authority

Source: Will Weissert, Associated Press, April 17, 2013

The State Board of Education on Wednesday lambasted a proposal approved by the Texas Senate that strips the body of its power to authorize new charter schools and gives it to the state commissioner of education. Approved overwhelmingly last week, Senate Bill 2 expands the maximum number of charter schools authorized to operate statewide, raising the current cap of 215 to 305 by September 2019….
Plan to Expand Charter Schools Clears Senate
Source: Brandi Grissom and Morgan Smith, Texas Tribune, April 11, 2013

…As colleagues praised Education Chairman Dan Patrick’s efforts at building consensus, a significantly altered version of his expansion of the state’s charter school system quickly passed out of the Senate Thursday afternoon [Senate Bill 2]….Patrick originally intended to lift the state’s 215-school cap on charter contracts. After amendments, including one from Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas, it now incrementally increases the limit on charters, reaching a hard cap of 305 by the year 2019. Charter schools aimed at dropout recovery or operated within traditional school districts would not count toward that cap….The Senate dropped a requirement for school districts to lease or sell underused buildings to charter schools and another that would have provided facilities funding for charters, which — along with the state cap on charter school contracts — is a primary issue in a lawsuit pending against the state.

Charter school operators guilty of misusing funds

Source: Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2013

The couple running Ivy Academia could face prison time over the $200,000 in public funds. The case is seen as having major implications for other charters….In a case that could have impact statewide, a Los Angeles jury Friday found the operators of a west San Fernando Valley charter school guilty of illegally taking or misappropriating more than $200,000 in public funds.

Together, Yevgeny “Eugene” Selivanov, 40, and his wife, Tatyana Berkovich, 36, faced 26 felony counts for using state money in ways they insisted were legal under laws that apply to nonprofits and charter schools in California. Over several years, for example, they spent more than $34,000 on meals, entertainment and gifts that they classified as business expenses or gestures of appreciation for teachers…

…Selivanov and Berkovich started Ivy Academia, a charter school of 1,100 students that operates on three campuses, in 2004 and remained in charge until their arrests in 2010. The school had strong test scores, financial stability and a waiting list of applicants. Such success was what mattered most, argued witnesses for the defense. Indeed, in creating charters, the idea was to trade flexibility for academic accountability….

NLRB to oversee union-organizing vote at Philadelphia charter school

Source: Martha Woodall, Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 2013

And, in what union officials said will be a first for a charter school in Pennsylvania, New Media’s union election will be overseen by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) instead of Pennsylvania’s state labor board. At the request of the charter school, the national board took jurisdiction of New Media’s election as a result of a recent NLRB decision that said the Chicago Mathematics & Science Academy Charter School was not a public school. The NLRB ruled in December that although the Chicago charter was funded mostly by taxpayers, it was founded by a nonprofit organization, was overseen by its own board, and was not part of state or local government….

Boulder Valley’s higher teacher salaries force charters to evaluate pay

Source: Amy Bounds, Denver Post, March 23, 2013

Keeping up with Boulder Valley’s teacher pay has been an ongoing challenge for the district’s charter schools — one that is now more difficult, thanks to the district’s recent salary increases. In response to the school district paying more, local charter schools are reworking their own pay scales to stay competitive. Charter schools traditionally haven’t been able to pay their teachers as much as their district school counterparts. Charters are public schools that usually are overseen by school districts but operate independently, don’t usually participate in teacher unions and set their own salaries. The often-small schools also don’t have the same economies of scale or resources as a large district. …