Anyone Have $12 million to spare?

Just another rant from a lover of public education who is looking for answers—and money, too.

I just came home from another meeting where the main topic of conversation was Gov. Corbett's budget.  

Just add an intense soundtrack and you have all the makings of a horror film.  I don't claim to understand everything about a state or school district budget, but I do understand how charter and cyber schools are causing districts like my beloved to hemorrhage money.

My son is in sixth grade. Since his kindergarten year, 2005-06, WHSD has shelled out over $47 million.  

WHSD has been reimbursed $7.5 million of that. This current school year is costing us $12 million with $0 reimbursement. If a little vomit just inched its way up your throat, I know how you feel.

Some people will say that if WHSD was doing its job, people wouldn't leave.  I know people who have left and they had no complaints about our teachers or curriculum.

Some people will say that the charter schools are out-performing the public schools. How many pages of research do you want to show that is completely false?

And don't get me started on a cyber school that is one of the top 10 advertisers on KDKA Radio, which is one of the most expensive to air on.

I will always believe in public education.  My children are getting an excellent education.  My children are safe.  My children are happy.  Sadly, I feel nothing but contempt for the charter and cyber schools that are taking money away from my district and directly away from programs for my children.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Sue T March 03, 2012 at 03:26 AM
I have to say one other thing. Don't paint all charter schools with a black brush. Let me tell you about a handful of students on my street. I apologize in advance I don't know the names of the schools. One attends a school in Monroeville that specializes in autistic children. A second was considered smart, but a trouble maker at WH. He has been at a charter school for minorities that excel, and he is excelling now and well adjust. Three others attend the environmental school. I have a masters in both geology and chemistry and work for an environmental firm and these kids come over ask questions and want to learn. I'm shocked at how much they know as elementary students. I am thrilled these children have the educational opportunities their parents have found for them.
LENORE WOSSIDLO March 03, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I know that charter schools need to be accountable. Whether or not that is actually reviewed by the State is another issue. My son's charter school has SHOWED US what accountability they have to provide and proves to us that they do provide it. All of their teachers are certified or are obtaining additional certification while they work. How do I know a lot of this? I am involved, and the school shares with us; they don't keep records behind closed doors. They share without us asking first. My older son attends a charter school that specializes in autism in Monroeville, the only school of its kind in the country! When he graduates, he will be able to get a job. I am amazed at how much my younger son who attends ECS knows at the age of 12. The students at ECS could have solved the PA budget crisis a couple of years ago, at a much faster rate than those in office! ALL students learn differently; the charter school gives them that opportunity!
Tara Reis March 03, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Wow, you folks sure are passionate and I'm sure you can appreciate my passion for my beloved District. Obviously, I am thrilled that we have a charter school that is specifically designed to help autistic children. It's a shame there aren't more, since autism is much more prevalent than it was when I was a child. As a Board Member of a public school district, it is my duty to support the schools I represent. My belief in our schools is not faked or questionable. If I thought our schools couldn't offer everything a student needed and were inferior to charter schools, I would have no business being on the Board. Thanks for reading and continue your involvement in your childrens' schools. I'm sure we ALL can agree that there is a direct correlation between parental involvement and a child's academic achievement and behavior.
Steve Karas March 04, 2012 at 01:15 PM
This editorial started by mentioning the Governor's budget. It is true that Mr. Corbett cut education: 10% cuts for K-12, $260 million in grants eliminated that helped schools keep small classes and implement proven services, 50% in cuts to state colleges, as well as completely eliminating other programs. The Governor then asked teachers to accept a pay freeze, asked districts to lay off teachers with seniority, AND has tried to make it more difficulty for districts to make up for this loss of revenue. Overall this budget decreases PA spending only about 3%! So Corbett and the Republican controlled legislature have essentially placed the burden on our teachers, schools, and children. Do more with less and we do not value public education is his message. Think there is no money? Corbett's budget INCREASES: state police funding, state prison funding, state retirement funding,adoption programs, and initiates a regressive voter ID law. All while allowing drilling to occur without proven safety measures and, when compared to other states, an incredibly low impact fee to the industry he is well connected to with his staff members. What we are seeing in our classrooms, and why we are disagreeing about charter schools or how we educate our children, is the direct result the misguided use of taxpayer dollars. It is the result of misguided priorities and an open demonstration of public malice by those in the current administration which negatively affects our communities.
Laura Moore April 26, 2012 at 08:17 PM
The difference between my WHHS building and the charter down the street is vast. They can mandate parent involvement, we cannot. They have an ample number of volunteers, we do not. They can choose their students, we cannot. Unfortunately parents think charters are a "grass is greener" scenario. Parents walk into my classroom with a preconceived mindset of how my classroom will operate and how effective I will be as a teacher. Before I even get a chance to teach a lesson I am being judged as ineffective and incompetent because of the 'reputation' of my district, a district I went to and proudly graduated from. I feel as though we are caught in a Catch-22. The involved, concerned parents flock to the charter schools. But if all of the concerned and involved parents go there who is remaining at the public school? Our few, strong voices are being drowned out by the naysayers. I don't understand how public money can be used to fund charter schools that are able to select their students. The purpose of charter schools was initially to improve the public school system, but all they are doing is draining our resources, taking some of our most involved families, and labeling public schools as false failures. IF charters are truly here to improve the public school system why are most failing? Yes, MOST charters (some whopping number) do NOT outperform their public counterparts. The question is: why aren't they being shut down or having their funding drained?


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