Sunday, March 29, 2009

State Education Mandates - Part 8

From time to time, particular around the budget period, reference is generally made to Franklin Public Schools having to support "unfunded mandates." I managed to find a listing of such compiled by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. This is Part 8 of the series.

School Choice

This program requires all school districts to admit students from other districts in the state unless the host school district takes action to restrict or prohibit accepting non-resident students from other Massachusetts school districts.

• Admitted choice students’ siblings are thereafter entitled to enrollment in the school also, even when there is little or no space for new local students to enroll. Districts losing students to choice have no control over the students who choose to leave and are charged for the cost of those students as assessments on the Cherry sheet.
• With declining enrollments and constraints on local funds, it is expected that this “free-market-choice” of school districts will expand causing a drain on resources from more vulnerable school districts. This will have an affect on the capacity to address issues for low-income school districts often having the neediest students.

Charter Schools

School districts have no control over students who wish to attend charter schools rather than the local district and local residents have no say in how these schools operate or how their tax dollars are used unless they happen to be selected by the charter school to serve on its board of trustees. In other words, charter schools operate outside the reach of city, town, and regional government.

• Many persuasive arguments have been made to demonstrate such counter-intuitive outcomes as lower numbers of special education students enrolled, the virtual absence of limited English proficient students, and the ability of charters to transfer students out of their school back to the public school district.
• We believe that the current charter school funding formula is unreasonable because it draws away from a city or town (or region) chapter 70 allocation

The full listing is available here (DOC)

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