Thursday, March 4, 2021

CURMUDGUCATION: Free Charters Are Not Free

CURMUDGUCATION: Free Charters Are Not Free
Free Charters Are Not Free

The Heritage Charter Academy of Cape Coral, Florida plugs itself as a "free public charter school," but that turns out to be not entirely true.

As reported earlier this week, the charter schools of Cape Coral are in deep financial trouble. The charters run by Oasis Charter Schools can't afford their lease. So they are facing some serious deficit spending issues, as described by a city official:

“If everything stays the way it is today right now … their fund balance would actually be depleted by 2024,” Assistant City Manager Connie Barron said.

Cape Coral is a city in southwest Florida of around 200,000 people, which is impressive given it was launched as a real estate development in 1957. The city actual incorporated in 1970. Now it's the eighth largest city in Florida, built not so much on swampland as around a network of canals.

The charters come under the City of Cape Coral Charter School Authority and fall within the Lee County School District, which earned its spot in history back after Brown v. Board of Education ruled that segregation was illegal, Lee County handled that new reality by simply ignoring it. This led to some civic strife and a set of court orders, some of which are still in place. Charter School providers include infamous charter chain Charter Schools USA (which is pretty busy in Lee County). 

Bottom line: Cape Coral can't afford its current charter school set-up, and in fact is already making some iffy choices to  CONTINUE READING: CURMUDGUCATION: Free Charters Are Not Free