If enough of the missing students turn up in charters, District budget worries would grow
by Dale Mezzacappa on Nov 01 2013 Posted in Latest news
The School District is trying to find 4,000 students that it expected to enroll in September who didn't show up.
Many of those may have switched to charter schools. Superintendent William Hite has said that of the $45 million that the state released last month, about $10 million has been set aside in anticipation of higher charter payments, which are mandated based on enrollment.
If it turns out that more than 1,000 or so of the missing students turn up in charters, that $10 million figure could go higher and create a new budget hole. District officials say they still don't have a definitive count of charter enrollment citywide.
The District has sought for years to impose enrollment caps on charter schools to contain the rapid growth of its payouts to charters. Still, it would be possible for charter enrollment to increase sigificantly citywide without any charters breaking their agreements, because many are not enrolled up to their limit.
Dozens of other charters have simply refused to sign their charter renewals, in many cases protesting the imposition of caps. And on that front, the District recently fired another salvo in the continuing conflict.
In August, the School Reform Commission waived parts of the school code that apply to charters, which it has the power to do under the state takeover. The waiver overrides language in the code that forbids charter authorizers -- school districts -- from imposing enrollment caps on charters.
Last month, the District sent letters to charter schools threatening to begin procedures to revoke their charters unless they agree to enrollment limits. Of the city's 86 charters, 32 are operating without signed charters.
Of that group, nine charters have reached agreement and four others -- Imani, Arise Academy, Truebright, and Community Academy -- are in some phase of non