The State Board of Education today voted to give preliminary approval to two new charter schools, but those charters can only open if they can convince legislators to fund them.
In past years, charter schools that had applications approved by the State Board of Education went forward and enrolled students before receiving funding from the state, pressuring legislators into providing the funding. The legislature has since made it clear that that process is unacceptable and that no students can be enrolled until a school is funded.
CEA President Jeff Leake spoke out against the charter school applications at today’s meeting, saying, “CEA believes that charter schools should be non-profit, publicly accountable, transparent, and operate without diverting public funds from neighborhood public schools or to third-party management organizations.”
Both proposed schools, Danbury Prospect Charter School and Norwalk Charter School for Excellence, would represent the expansion of New York City private operators into Connecticut.
Charter management organizations (CMOs) that run charter schools in Connecticut charge their schools a management fee—profiting from state taxpayer dollars allocated for students with little or no oversight or transparency as to how the money is used.
Leake said that, given Connecticut’s current economic climate, we can’t afford to further expand a parallel system of schools in Connecticut. “The addition of the two proposed schools would significantly burden local school district budgets and impact state funds for education.”
He added that charters run by CMOs end up selecting the best students, leaving those with the greatest educational needs, and those who pose the highest instructional and service costs, in our neighborhood schools.
“This results in our traditional public schools doing even more with less, while sacrificing the benefits that a community of diverse learners can have on all students,” Leake said.