Breaking Down Barriers to Charter Funding
The Kansas City Star reports that some charter schools in Missouri have emerged victorious from the latest round of litigious bouts with the Kansas City public school district.
Since passage of a 2005 law with provisions for direct funding of charter schools, the Kansas City school district has fought a battle against what it sees as an unfunded mandate. Prior to the law, charter schools in the area were funded indirectly. The money trickled down from the state to public school districts, and then finally to charter schools. The 2005 law streamlined this process, allowing states to dip from the pool of revenue typically reserved for district schools and fund charter schools directly:
District schools receive local tax dollars, but charter schools do not, said Khris Heisinger, attorney for the Missouri Charter Public School Association, which is named in the lawsuit. […]
“They want to spend all the local money and get the same state money they had been getting,” Heisinger said of the school district.
It is conceivable that this policy could help district schools as well. Faced with a shrunken revenue pool, Kansas City schools will be forced to focus on what works, and cut out what doesn’t. Regardless, the recent Cole County court ruling in favor of charter schools and the streamlined funding process is a positive step forward in compensating for the disparity of available resources between district and charter schools.