In an editorial this past April, the Tribune blasted a bill that would have unfairly crippled chartered schools. We noted that there are great charter schools and bad charter schools, and there should be more government oversight.
After all, a billion of our tax dollars go to our state’s charter schools each year.
Like public schools, charters receive a certain amount of revenue — in the area of $7,500 — for each student per year.
Many charter schools are known to operate on lower budgets due to not paying teachers as much as public schools, not offering as many fringe benefits and not providing some expensive programs such as special education. Most charter schools have also shied away from operating high schools, which are much costlier to run.
So, where does the money go that is left over? That’s one of the big questions, and here’s one answer: For-profit charter schools are just that — individuals and companies run to the bank with the dollars that are saved.
In our April 21 editorial, we said the state needs to make sure the operators aren’t skimping on the students’ education to create more income.
One only needs to look a little to the north to see that the charter company that ran the Muskegon Heights Academy last year jumped ship when they didn’t realize enough profit.
The state needs to insist that charter school operators have a record of high performance before they open schools. Once operating, there should be no room for lousy schools to exist year after year.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty, Fred VandenBrand and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.