California Educator

May / June 2016

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Page 37 of 59

Report: Charter Schools Siphon Off Millions From Traditional Schools A NEW STUDY finds that traditional schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District lost $591 million this year alone to unchecked independent charter school growth. e report, titled "Fiscal Impact of Char- ter Schools on LAUSD" and released in May, was commissioned by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and conducted by MGT of America Consulting. "e figure is staggering, and while spe- cific to LAUSD, the findings beg for a hard look at how charter schools interact with school districts throughout California, as well as the nation," says Donald Cohen, executive director of In the Public Inter- est, a research and public policy center specializing in privatization (the center co-wrote with UTLA a policy brief based on the study). " When there is escalating competition for students and funding, both charter and district schools are faced with creating a situation where, if changes are not enacted immediately, the entire edu- cational system in Los Angeles will be in a financial crisis." Financially strained LAUSD has more th a n 1 0 0 , 0 0 0 stu d e n t s i n 2 2 1 c h a r t e r scho o l s — more char t er scho o l s than any other school district nationwide. e number of charter schools in Los Angeles, which currently enroll 16 percent of some 650,000 students in the district, has more than tripled since 2005. The study focuses on L AUSD's direct and indirect costs related to enrollment, oversight, services to disabled students and other activities. UTLA President Alex Caputo-Pearl says the report is an import- ant first step in understanding the fiscal impact of charters on the district. "It took over 12 years of declining enroll- ment at LAUSD to get an accounting of the financial strain of charter school growth," he says. "We cannot wait another 12 years to address the consequences it is having on public education and our students." Last year, a charter school expansion plan backed by the Broad Foundation, the Walton family and others proposed raising $490 million in private money to put up to half the students in LAUSD in charter schools over the next eight years. LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King a n d s c h o o l b o a r d m e m b e r s w i l l d i s - cuss the report in June. To read the full re p or t an d for m ore infor m ation , s e e 36 THE UNIVERSITY OF INNOVATION MEETS EDUCATION. Earn an affordable, accredited bachelor's or master's degree on your schedule, and at your own pace. WGU was recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) as the #1 program in the country for secondary teacher education programs, and #16 for elementary teacher education programs. Benefits for all NEA members: • 5% tuition discount for up to four terms. • Eligibility to apply for the WGU NEA Academy Partner Scholarship, valued at up to $2,400. • Free application to WGU. WG050516 WGU was recognized by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) as the #1 program in the country for secondary teacher education programs,

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