Charter’s other costs, Letter to the Boston Herald, 5/13/12

posted May 14, 2012, 4:12 AM by Bill Duncan

Our small elementary school in Leverett is slated to lose about $62,000 next year as six kids leave for area charter schools — that’s an average of one kid per grade (“Chart next course,” May 9). Several years ago this kind of resource-drain led to the cancellation of the much-loved Spanish program, and we have been level-funding our school budget for the last four years (which means that in reality we are making cuts every year, as costs are generally rising). The Amherst regional district is scheduled to lose more than $700,000 for 55 kids who go to charters, which comes out to about nine kids in each of the six upper-school grades. The economies of scale mean that one or six or nine kids leaving a school (or one class, or one grade) don’t add up to much actual “savings,” because the school still has the same number of teachers, the same overhead costs, the same building to support. Those who think that the current way that charter schools are funded isn’t leading to a decline in the quality and even existence of truly locally-based, locally-controlled public schools are deluding themselves.

— Nancy Grossman, Leverett