"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

How Much Will Shelby County Slash to Pay for the Increasing Burden of Charter Schools?

During this school year now winding down, Shelby County Schools will give up $67 million to corporate charter schools in Memphis.  Next year that amount will increase almost 16 percent to over $78 million, so that almost one dollar of every ten spent will be for charter schools.  That's $145 million in two years.

The 39 charter schools will get more, then, than all monies in the budget for student services, more than twice the amount that will spent on retirees' benefits, and more than all the combined costs for facilities, utilities, and custodial services.  By the end of the coming school year, the Shelby County Schools Fund Balance will have withered from $210 million to $149 million, a 30 percent drop in two years.

The $78 million for charters will not include almost $9 million for the "Innovation Office" and the bureaucrats who are scheming to create another money sink in the form of a virtual school ($6.6 million).

As you can see from the chart below, the 2014-15 budget plans all sorts of cuts to pay for the corporate welfare charters.  A 22 percent decrease in salaries and a 23 percent cut in employee benefits will serve to offset the costs for the continuing drain from charters, more contracted services with profiteers, and the increasing costs for debt services.

Will teachers and staff sit quietly as their livelihoods are sucked away to pay for the Gates Foundation School Privatization Plan to benefit billionaires and Wall Street vampires?

While we wait to see, the County is moving forward with a $16 million plan for merit pay based on test scores, a strategy that has not raised achievement any place it has been tried. What such meritless loser plans have done is intensify the focus on junk tests and test prep, which have supplanted learning in schools.  

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