Despite concerns, State Board Ok's Charter School policy that hurts students
Policy 3300 governing charter schools was a major topic of conversation at the July 12 meeting and despite nearly all the State Board members voicing concerns over Policy 3300, they voted for it. Debra Sullivan was the only one to vote no while other members noted there must be close monitoring of charter schools.
WVEA President Dale Lee noted WVEA has historically been on record opposing charter schools, including virtual charter schools, "because they take money from existing classroom and rob our teachers and students and resources." He noted those concerns are true with the charter school legislation that was passed by the 2021 Legislature and with Policy 3300.
Funding: The law gives charter schools 90% of school aid formula funding. This funding, $643.51 per student, includes transportation, even though charter schools don't have to provide transportation, and expenses. Another kicker: virtual charter schools don’t provide transportation or maintenance.
“Charter schools will rob our students of resources,” Lee said.
Hurts Students: the policy notes if a student is “disenrolled” the county must take the student back. Do the resources follow the student to the public school if a charter school “disenrolls” a student after October 1, when funding is allocated to schools?
Cherry Pick Students: The policy indicates a charter school must accept all students, but alarmingly, allows it to set size limits and allows a lottery and other conditions which ultimately will allow charter schools to hand pick their students.
“This is a classic example of using public funds to educate a few at the expense of the many. In this case, most of our children,” Lee said.
Eliminating students without Internet: Virtual charter schools are to provide appropriate hardware and connectivity for those enrolled. WVEA questions if this allows for the elimination or "disenrollment" of those students who don’t have connectivity.
Charter schools can open in the 2022-23 school year.
In other State Board news: President Miller Hall, Raleigh County, and Tom Campbell, Greenbrier County, respectively, were re-elected to a second term. Scott Rotruck, Monongalia County, was re-elected as financial officer.
The next State Board meeting will be August 11.