,,,says the irascible Mr. Potter in the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life” who then continues…. “you can come and borrow money. What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty, working class.”

That seems to be exactly what is happening within the Markell administration in regards to Charter schools.   For in normal loans, Mr. Potter implies,  you have strict rules and guidelines to follow, unless one chooses, again as Mr. Potter is insinuating, to ignore them to assist ones friends….  Gee.  What happens when you do that?  …. (Wilmington Trust).

Charter Schools are given more leeway because they are “private” enterprises.   Thanks to John Kowalko, we now know this ….

By law, public schools if they do not use the millions in their transportation budgets for that very cause, must give it back…  Now with an few words of code inserted into Delaware Code, Charter Schools in the same framework, do not have to…

Why is this there?  The obvious answer is that it is being put in as a way to   s–l–i–d–e  some extra money into the hands of charter schools.

It is like you have a family of five.  You have to make appearances that your are treating all your children equally, but you really do like one better than the others…  So you give all of them the same allowance but to your oldest who is driving, you give them a very large transportation budget to pay for their gas.  They need $100 dollars.  You give them $200…  The other children don’t drive so they have no idea that $200 is too much to spend on gas for a weekend….  That is what is going on with this push for charters.

According to John Kowalko, here are the facts.

Charter Schools get (per pupil) in New Castle County -$908.75
Kent County——–$843.85
Sussex County—–$964.88

Traditional public schools get (per pupil) ——————$579.30…  (Why are Kent County Charter Schools the Redheaded Stepchild?)

Now, if public schools can contract to run on $579 per pupil, who is to say Sussex County Charter schools cannot do the same?  If they did,  they would now get to keep $385 extra for every student they transport.   That extra is 66.59% of another public school student….

It’s a gold mine I tell you. Scrooge McDuck would be proud.

Why the favoritism?  Charter Schools are private entities who receive state money to stay in business.  The state money comes into their doors, and they get rich off of that.  Some of that richness goes back into the campaign funds of those on the JFC who allow this to happen as a matter of course….  In truth, that is why this is happening.

So let us take that total of the extra per each Sussex County students:…  listing the one charter school in Sussex County, with 413 listed students, that amount over a public students cost is $159,000.

One school gets $159,000 for being business efficient, and the public schools have no incentive to do the same; for if anything is left over, they send it back with not even a thank you coming down from the DOE for their thriftiness.

It’s simply about “who you know.”

Why is this even important?

Granted.  If we could tax the wealthy whatever it might cost to educate our children, this wouldn’t be an issue.  However some members of legislature are still in dream world, and think austerity in public education will make all of us better.  Therefore, with limited funding this misdirection of money, is important.  Remember in the analogy above, that child who got the driving stipend?  That extra money is less the other four will now have with which to meet their expenses.  If they were to question why it was fair to give charters more money, they would have a valid point.

Second.  It violates our goal to educate our worst students.  That money would be better spent in a Wilmington District, where bang for buck, it could be used to actually educate a child who needs it, and not be spent on taking every Charter School student in Sussex County out for a movie.

Third.  It takes away from public schools.  Throwing the wealthy’s money at Charter Schools would not be a problem,  IF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS WERE FULLY FUNDED FIRST.   But funds for public schooling is in disarray.  Public schools are running budgets far less on what they used to be.  This bill to slide more money into charter schools, takes that money away from those public schools hurting already.   Again, we have to look at results.  Which is better?  To give public-school funds to millionaires to help cover their children’s schooling in a private school, or, to instead use them to educate our inner city children who already have two strikes against them and their only home run available is through a good education?

Obviously the latter.  So why is Jea Street not screaming?

Point is. We are all human.  We can scream, point fingers, call out prejudice, wail, gnash our teeth, and say giving Charters extra money at the expense of public schools is corrupt and immoral…

But all of us take care of those who take care of us.  One can’t really fault the JFC for wanting to do this… even if it is wrong.  These Charter School owners, or the people the schools will be renting from, are these legislator’s friends.  We’re supposed to help a brother out?

The problem is not the money.  It is the principle of fairness…. So let public educational entities keep their money too.  Education?  It is a good cause…  let the public schools compete with charters (for that is what they do) on a level playing field, not one stacked against them.   Let the public schools keep their funds too..  And let’s move on.  There are many other important matters to attend to…  Just let public schools, who are responsible for handling the education of all our society, not just the rich cream of the crop who can get into exclusive charters,… have the same rights and resources as we have bestowed upon our charters…

Then, send the bill to the wealthy.  While everyone else suffered, they’ve done well.  They deserve to pick up the tab for a change.

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