Thursday, March 13, 2014

Charter Bill Mounts to $78 Million for Next Year as School Budget Deficit Soars

This year, alone, Shelby County plans to close ten schools and turn them over for charter conversion.  It is now becoming increasingly clear that, without a huge infusion of Federal funds, turning Memphis into a New Orleans type charter chain gang system is going to an expensive ordeal for the pampered citizens of the leafy suburbs.  I guess that is what NOLA school board president, Phyllis Landrieu, meant when she said that she thanked Katrina all the time, back in 2006, when politicos of the Big Easy were rolling around in $1.8 billion of FEMA cash.

The privileged suburbanites of Shelby County's may be in for a big surprise when property taxes have to be raised to pay for out-of-state corporations to bring in their TFA missionaries to culturally neuter and behaviorally sterilize the black children of Memphis in the segregated charters.  This year's budget deficit for schools of $103 million could almost be eliminated if the County were not handing over $78 million for charters.  Losing students to charters ends up starving the remaining public schools.  From an earlier story at the Commercial Appeal:

“Just because we lose some employees doesn’t mean we won’t be running the same kind of services,” he said, adding that the district still must have HR and back office support for the charter schools. “With the charters, the ASD, school closures, a lot of funds will not be coming into the district.”

About 8,830 students are enrolled charter schools this year in the school district. By next year, enrollment is projected to be 13,688, plus 2,500 more students in ASD charters. For every student the district loses, it must subtract $8,000 in state and local funding.

Now it does not take a mathematician to understand that 13,688 x $8,000 per student = $109,504,000 lost to charters by next year.  

But even with such draconian cuts on the table this year, Superintendent Hopson plans to satisfy the Gates Foundation with almost $16,000,000 planned for a merit pay plan, even though repeated research studies have demonstrated that these schemes to not improve achievement or close the gaps.  

Also, the Superintendent plans to offer children from closed public schools the opportunity for "blended learning" in their new charter schools, which means that they will be tethered to computer screens for large chunks of the day doing digital handouts.  

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