The SRC is mandated to accept new charter applications by the state. The SRC is not mandated to approve any new charters. Approval of even one new charter means fewer resources for public school students, who are already forced to live under the austerity budgets passed by the SRC over the past three years.
Approving new charters means the SRC’s further abdication of its responsibility to provide a good public school in every neighborhood. Creating new charters, or giving public schools to charter companies via the Renaissance program, is the district’s public declaration that it has given up on that school and that neighborhood. They surrender to a private company and ask the public to trust that a charter office with eight staff people can monitor over eighty schools.
In 2013, when parents and students begged the SRC not to close their schools, the SRC voted to close over twenty neighborhood schools. Since then, how many charters have been created? We can’t afford public schools which have been part of a community for 99 years but we can afford a charter which will cost more? How does the SRC justify that?
A story in today’s edition of NewsWorks shows in detail what new charters cost the district, and in most cases, it is more than projected. The SRC also knows that the state is making it even more difficult to close a charter which has failed its students. For that reason alone, it should reject all of these charter applications.
Chair Neff stated at last month’s meeting that this is still a “zero-sum game”, and that she could not approve any more spending on charter schools. She is right. The only responsible action by the SRC her today is to reject all charter applications and do everything it can to put resources into existing public schools.