California Educator

May / June 2017

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Page 22 of 59

Draining public schools LAUSD is not the only district eyed for takeover. Capital & Main revealed a secret plan, also financed by billionaire profiteers, to put 50 percent of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) stu- dents into corporate charters. Unknown to Oakland's parents until recently — and with- out open debate by the school board — the charter expansion scheme for Oakland is an open secret, comments Bruce Fuller, an education and public policy professor at UC Berkeley. Fuller believes massive charter school expansion will push Oakland toward bankruptcy, because taking half of the district's students means taking half of the district's Average Daily Attendance (ADA) funding, while schools must continue paying salaries and operating costs. Approximately 25 percent of OUSD students are enrolled in charter schools — compared with 16 percent of total enrollment in LAUSD — making it the district with the highest percentage of charter-enrolled students in the state. Trish Gorham, president of the Oakland Education Association (OEA), fears charter school expansion will put Oakland at the tip- ping point by taking the cream of students and leaving traditional schools with those with learning disabilities and other challenges that require more costly services from schools. "Eli Broad wrote that Oakland is a prime target for takeover by national charter school organizations," says Gorham. "e Rogers Family Foundation declared it wants to have 20,000 'quality seats' in Oakland by 2020. In charter school lingo, quality seats equal After billionaires poured in nearly $10 million to support pro-charter candidates in the May runoff for two LA Unified school board seats, UTLA President Alex Caputo- Pearl says the fight is only beginning. "We will fight against privatizing our public schools and against creating 'separate and unequal' for our kids." Celerity schools are being investigated simultaneously by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Department of Education for fraud and mismanagement. The CEO has spent lavishly while Celerity teachers have lacked basic suppllies such as pencils, paper and books. The lack of accountability and transparency in the charter school industry has led to myriad cases of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement, some of which are document ed on these pages. Students have suffered, and taxpayers have been hit hard as well. The Center for Popular Democracy estimated that California stood to lose more than $100 million to charter school fraud in 2015 alone. The chart outlines what $100 million could have been used for in that oneyear period. What $100 Million Could Have Paid For The salaries of nearly 1,300 teachers. Additional funding of more than $166,000 per school district. Decreasing class size by 10 percent. 21 May / June 2017

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