Texas Charter Schools, Parents Sue State Over Facilities Funding

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Dana Allen, a Lindsley Park parent volunteer, hopes this lawsuit will result in more money for the school's facilities.
Dana Allen, a Lakewood parent, is thrilled with the education her 5-year-old receives at Lindsley Park charter school, but is displeased that the school has no gym, no cafeteria, no library and no computer lab. She attributes the absence of such basic niceties to the school's lack of state funding for facilities -- a challenge charters have faced since they were created -- and the matter of a lawsuit filed against the state this week.

The Texas Charter School Association and six parents, including Allen, are suing the state for denying charter schools money for facilities while providing such funding to traditional public schools. They allege that the state is violating its own constitution, which calls for "efficiency" in education:

Unlike school districts, which have a local tax base and receive State aid for facilities, charter schools have neither a local tax base nor receive direct State aid for instructional facilities. Consequently, charter schools are forced to spend operating dollars to support the cost of instructional facilities, but also the classrooms where that instruction will occur.

The lawsuit also alleges that the cap of 215 charters that can be authorized in the state is arbitrary and unconstitutional, as it "stymies the very efficiency charter schools were intended to promote."

Which is about the same claim being made in five other public school finance lawsuits.

A spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency said she had not seen the lawsuit and declined to comment. Allen, the parent volunteer, hopes the lawsuit will allow charters to obtain the same funding as traditional public schools.

"It's not really fair because we all pay taxes too," she says.

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10 comments
farkle
farkle

Well we taxpayers must pay extra for precious!

Cliffhanger
Cliffhanger

Yes. And frankly, I'd rather see the money spent on charters going to magnets that meet the needs of students who are interested in things like the trades. There are a lot of capable, talented kids in DISD who would probably be motivated to stay in school if they were engaged and working toward obtaining a diploma that they felt directly benefited them.

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

Does this affect Deon's football school?  I want to make sure that my kid will still receive his hip hop football scholarship.

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

These lawsuits about funding inequality will not end until we either: A. End state level funding of public schools.  B. Make a single state wide unified school district where every school gets x dollars per student, and that is it. This will include charter schools. If option B happens, I expect lawsuits at the federal level because some states have a higher per student pay out than others.

Chiggers!
Chiggers!

C'mon, RT. You know how this works. Once you get your foot in the door, you gotta' get your shoulder into it and really PUSH!

Ytumamatambien
Ytumamatambien

 1. Chief PR-Jennifer Sprague-overpaid, failed the PR cert test in 2010, nothing cabinet level material here. 2. Chief Talent-Charles Glover, five years of total work experience 2 as teacher and 3 as ED for TFA in Dallas area, paid 182,000 for what HE DOESNT even know. 3. Chief Operation-Kevin Smelker...being paid 220K to do what Alan King does. 4. Chief of Staff-Alan King basically getting paid to see #3 do his job. 5. Chief of Schools-Sylvia Reyna from FWISD already cost FW 13Million dollars in a staffing mistake...let me put the zeros 13,500,000. Where is Erik Anderson when you need him! 6. (BREAKING INSIDER NEWS) Chief of HR-Michael Goar who was ousted from memphis for overseeing a dept head who purchased over $27,000 of furniture for her office, (SOME WHERE YVONNE GONZALEZ JUST LAUGHED0, http://mediaverse-memphis.blogspot.com/2007/10/on-michael-goar.html 7. Chief of Curriculum: TBA but it has to be someone who made an error like someone from DISD years ago did..maybe someone who gave all the consultant contracts to her lesbian live in GF??? 8. Chief of Complaince: TBA. This one is to help with ERATE tech funds maybe Ruben Buchoet is available.... Jokes aside has someone sat down with this joke of super we have hired and gone over the history of scandals we have endured in DISD over the past 10 years? Has anyone on the DMN got the intestinal fortitude to stand up the editorial board who is being run by the Citizens Council? come on are you kidding doing the editorial about DISD handing over the closed schools to charters...the same charters that the head of the Budget Commission is president of that just convinced the school board to lower starting salaries for new teachers while neighboring districts raise their own. It was so predictable that they would do that. Watch the next editorial will be about how the district should hire more TFA alums oh wait thats already happening!! Word is Exe. Dir's are being brought in but no one is publicizing it to keep the whole "here we go again" crowd from getting louder LIKE the new ED for HR Jamal Jenkins that started on June 1 and who is a Broad Toad, can we all say together Kimberly Olson! The more things become new, cutting edge, the more its 2005 all over again...Destination 2020 how about Here We Go Again 2005!

Ghost
Ghost

Charter schools can pick and choose who they want up to a certain point. They have a grace period that allows that, for some of them that is coming to an end. So you will see some of them get stricter in who they accept especially at the elementary age. We wouldn't need these charter schools if those same parents running to them would FIGHT for public schools. Even if it means getting into with the parents who don't care about education. Or fighting certain school board members. DISD got too many weak parents that use DISD as a daycare. DISD is not a daycare and it's not right for everyone else who cares to suffer. 

Osteology
Osteology

Maybe because they see value in the Montessori model that surpasses that of a test driven model (even as administered by the overrated Lakewood)

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

They must legally admit all students who apply.   But only kids and parents who agree to follow the rules apply. I completely agree that the status quo isn't working and that we need to overhaul the whole system.  In order for Dallas to thrive, there have to be usable schools for middle class families.  One can look to the suburbs to see what middle class families want:  neighborhood schools with an elementary/middle school/high school feeder pattern.  Sports, band, cheer, orchestra, etc.  A sense of community.  Freedom from disruptive kids and a focus on excellence (vs nepotism/cronyism/race-based approaches).Charters cannot deliver this.  Once we fix DISD, then we can revisit charters.  

Anon
Anon

it's sort of like students who enroll at the magnets. they give up Friday night football for the benefits they expect to gain from the TAG or Booker T or wherever.  can these parents understand that life is about making decisions with limited resources and there are costs and benefits to every decision in life?

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