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Jersey Jazzman reviews the funding of Hoboken’s charters and finds that they have outside funders who give them additional aid, sometimes very substantial aid. Suburban schools, he acknowledges, raise money through their PTA and parent volunteers (but not many get large gifts from Goldman Sachs and Barclay’s, for example).
– See more at: http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/2015/01/in-hoboken-charter-schools-rule-part-ii.html#sthash.CRkQlgNL.dpufMy point here is that I would never say that what the parents of Hoboken’s charter schools are doing is in any way wrong; in fact, I would be shocked if these organizations didn’t exist. Of course parents hold fundraisers for their kids’ schools; of course they leverage their connections to benefit programs that serve their children. Any parent who loves their child and has the means does this. There is nothing wrong with this.
But here’s the thing:
I don’t see anyone rational making the claim that suburban schools “do more with less” when their communities spend so much on their children’s entire education — yet that is the precise claim of Hoboken’s charter sector.
One of the myths of charter school funding in New Jersey — often perpetuated by groups with little understanding of how school financing works — is that charters get less funding than they should because they are denied access to state aid and debt service available to public school districts.
Leaving aside the point that charters shouldn’t get much of this aid (why should a charter school get transportation aid if it doesn’t pay for transportation costs?), the truth is that charter school funding “gaps” are much more the product of differences in student population characteristics, which the state uses to calculate aid shares. This is a big topic and I’m working now on some pieces to bring this issue into focus.
If a school has fewer of the high-needs students, it gets less state aid. That’s elementary.