Their letter was extremely misleading and I would like to explain why.
First they said that the average charter school received 479 dollars while the average district school received 963 dollars. I believe they got the first number by dividing the amount of charter school students into the 158 million in PECO or maintenance funds that the state allocated but since Chatrand never sources anything that’s just a guess. Though say that number is right it only tells part of the story. It doesn’t include federal and philanthropic dollars. Chartrand’s own charter school the KIPP school reported receiving over one million dollars from donors. Charter schools also often get large grants and tax breaks to operate. This undoubtedly drives up the 479 number but this information is not convenient to the narrative that Chartrand is selling.
Next he says that since 2010 Duval’s charter schools have received 57 less than district schools in capital funds. Does anybody find it interesting that he choose 2010 to make his point? We have had charter schools in Jacksonville since 2002 and in 2010 we had about a third of many charters as we have now. Why that date? I believe its because he thought he could present a number even if it was misleading that would shock and outrage people.
One of the reasons that the district has spent more money on the district schools, is the district schools have more needs, hence the need for the referendum. Furthermore Chartrand from his time on the state board knows that charters have numerous requirements before they can even receive capital dollars, but once again that run counter to the narrative that Chartrand is selling. Furthermore since 2010 education funding has regressed. The district when you factor in inflation has less money than it did then.
Perhaps their most egregious claim is that the district is not willing to share with charters at all. For weeks the district has said every school, charter or public will get five dollars a square foot for safety measures. Furthermore they have said charters will be able to get more money based on needs. Instead of mentioning this plan which takes need and protects tax payer money, he uses incendiary language, like the district is “being unfair” and “committing a dereliction of duty” when nothing could be further from the truth.
I don’t believe Chartrand and Miller want the referendum to pass because they believe crumbling public schools will further their agenda to privatize all our schools. But regardless whether I am right or wrong about that shouldn’t we be having an honest conversation. I feel like the District has been honest with their needs and their plan, while Chartrand and those opposing the referendum have not and his letter to the editor is exhibit one.
To read Chartrand’s piece, click the link