Monday, April 7, 2014

Important Charter & Voucher Restrictions

Several critical issues related to charter and voucher schools are scheduled to be debated at the House Education Committee this Wednesday, April 9, starting at 9:00 A.M. These bills would help us to defend public schools from predatory charter schools and from further unwarranted expansion of the voucher programs.

Please ask your State Representative who serves on the House Education committee to support the following bills. All of the following are designed to keep charter schools and voucher schools from ripping off our tax dollars and shortchanging the students they propose to educate.

  • HB 89 by Miller would reduce the funding to charter schools that are not now paying their fair share of the unfunded liability of our teacher and school employee retirement systems. Up until now, some charters who refuse to participate in the retirement systems get the full MFP funding, yet are avoiding paying the approximate 28% of payroll that the legislature is requiring all of our local school boards to pay to reduce the unfunded liability of our retirement systems. This means that as charter schools continue to proliferate, and take more and more of the MFP, our regular public school systems must shoulder a larger and larger portion of the unfunded cost of our retirement systems. This trend could eventually force a collapse of our retirement systems as has been seen in Detroit where retired teachers are no longer getting the full pension they had been promised. Such inequitable funding of charter schools also allows the “predatory” charters that are profit making enterprises to convert more of our tax dollars into profit or into higher salaries for self appointed administrators. This is a travesty! This law should have been in place before any charters ever got started.
  • HB 101 by John Bel Edwards and HB 124 by Pat Smith would require that charter schools attempt to hire certified teachers before resorting to hiring uncertificated persons to teach our students. HB 101 simply requires the same standards for teacher hiring in charters as are used in regular public schools but HB 124 specifies that in both cases (public and charters) the first priority for teaching positions must first go to certified persons before resorting to hiring uncertificated teachers. We need to maintain proper credentials if teaching is to be recognized as a true profession, plus the fact that our students deserve the most qualified teachers possible.
  •  HB 701, and HB 702, would close loopholes that are now allowing vouchers to go to students that are not attending so called “failing” or “low performing” public schools. HB 701 by John Bel Edwards would remove students attending “C” rated public schools from eligibility for vouchers and HB 702 by Edwards would close the kindergarten loophole that has allowed voucher schools to recruit any kindergarten students even those that were in high performing school attendance zones.
  • HB 703 by Edwards would prevent BESE from approving charter schools in public school districts that are rated as “C” or better. This year BESE has approved numerous “predatory” charters over the objections of local school boards that can locate in any school system and attempt to attract the best students in order to put big profits into the pockets of education entrepreneurs like Charter Schools USA CEO Hage who has a yacht called “Fishin' 4 schools”. This guy is flaunting his robbery of our tax dollars!
  • HB 836 by Harrison requires an accountability system for voucher schools that would be similar to that applied to regular public schools.
  • HB 184 by Havard would prevent charter schools owners or authorizers from keeping and profiting from school property that was purchased with taxpayer money.
  • HB 999 by Williams limits the management fee for operating charters to no more than 10% of total expenditures.

Please ask your State Representative to support all of the bills described above.
House Education Committee

Christopher Broadwater 985-543-4900
Thomas Carmody Jr. 318-862-9956
Jerome "Dee" Richard 985-447-0999
Patricia Hayes Smith 225-342-7106

1 comment:

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