Group Gathers To Try Stopping Charter Schools

Gay AdelmannJames Sargent

A number of concerned citizens gathered yesterday at the Anderson County School Board’s parking lot to talk about impending state legislation that will introduce charter schools to the state.  The group, along with some school board members, discussed the downsides of charter schools, and how to prevent the legislation from passing.

According to Gay Adelmann from Save Our Schools KY, a charter school is essentially a new type of school that is between public and private schools.  These schools receive tax dollars for every student that attends.

However, because they are privately run, the charter school is exempt from many of the regulations and requirements that a public school is required to follow.  She explained that teachers don’t have to be as qualified or even certified to teach at these schools.

Charter schools, which have been implemented in a number of other states in the country, are designed to provide more choices for parents and competition among the education entities.  However, if the implementation is flawed, they can lead to a drain of talent from public schools.

Gay explained that charter schools in other states can recruit athletes and high performing students from public schools.  She also said that they can restrict the number of students entering their schools by only choosing students from a pool, which undermines the performance ratings of the public schools.

However, the biggest concern expressed by both Gay and Anderson County School board member, James Sargent, was the potential drop in funding for the public schools.  Since charter schools receive state tax dollars, public schools will receive less funding for each student that attends a charter school.

James explained that, with a possible drop in enrollment at the county schools, the school board would have to find ways to make up for the funding.  Staff and programs would have to be cut.  However, building and utility costs would remain roughly the same, leading to the possibility of raising school taxes.

“They want us to sit on the school board and then raise your taxes to pay for the charter school,” James said. “We don’t want to raise our school tax.”

Gay explained that the charter school bill may come up for a vote at the Kentucky Legislature within the next week or two.  She urged everyone that was present to contact their state representatives to discuss the issue.

For more information about Save Our Schools KY, check out their website.

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