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Council backs boost in charter facilities fee

The District's public charter schools, which have long held that they are shortchanged on funding compared to DCPS, would get a bit more money for rent, mortgage and other facilities costs under a recommendation Tuesday from the D.C. Council.

Both public and public charter schools receive equal financing under the uniform per student funding formula, which is expected to be $8,945 in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

But unlike public schools, most of District's 57 charter schools, spread across 99 campuses with 28,000 students, come into existence without a publicly financed building waiting for them. So they receive a per pupil facilities allotment to cover their extra costs. Sitting as the Committee of the Whole, the council recommended that Mayor Adrian M. Fenty raise the uniform per pupil fee from $2,800 to $3,000.

The Fenty administration cut the allotment from $3,109 last year, asserting that some schools have been diverting the facilities payments to cover other costs, such as teacher salaries. The mayor is recommending that the allotment remain at $2,800. Charter advocates say D.C. public schools enjoy significant streams of funding outside the uniform per student formula, including an enormous capital budget.

A working group of charter and District officials wanted $3,235, but Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray that only $3,000 is feasible. The hike would cost $868,000, most of which would come from money that had been set aside to service the District's debt.

The facilities fee boost is not likely to quell the debate over funding equity. Charter school supporters say they are concerned that the proposed new D.C. teachers contract, which would provide a 5-year, 20 percent raise and -- if a privately financed performance pay provision is implemented, boost some salaries well beyond the $100,000 range -- will add to their financial disadvantage.

Attorney General Peter Nickles pushed back on that argument Tuesday. Responding to a query from Council member Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), Nickles wrote that because the base salary increases are funded through the uniform per pupil formula, the contract creates no new financial obligations for the District.

"Charter schools will receive the same uniform per student funding amount that the mayor has proposed in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget and can use that amount (or any other funds) to provide the teacher raises they deem appropriate," Nickles wrote.

Barnaby Towns, a spokesman for the charter advocacy group FOCUS ( Friends of Choice in Urban Education) called Nickles' letter "the standard administration line" that ignores the inequities out side the funding formula.

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By Bill Turque  |  May 11, 2010; 6:29 PM ET
 
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Comments

Bill, you should delete
DC Teacher Chic
and
Harry Potter and the Urban School Nightmare

from your "What We're Reading Sidebar".
They haven't written in months.

Posted by: edlharris | May 12, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

ed - Harry Potter and Chic were known as Rhee supporters. Maybe they've changed their minds and don't want to write about that.

Maybe they are still supporters but can't think of anything positive to say these days.

Posted by: efavorite | May 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, efavorite.
BTW, today, Miss Rhee was out at one of those self promoting seminars for the beautiful people.

Fortunately, it was here in DC so the only cost to tax payers is another parking ticket.

http://www.eduwonk.com/2010/05/new-schools-3.html

Posted by: edlharris | May 12, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

edlharris,

I read that you and colleagues were on the program today at the Grand Hyatt:

eddy: Education Reform: Pithy or Pity, Just Tell Me When It Is Over

efav: Sharp Arguments: Winning the Blog War With Data and Sharp Objects

okay: I Got Off Work Today So I Could Tell You Big People How It Really Is

Linda: Reform Will Take a Very Long Time and Is Really Expensive, So There

dccounselor72: I Object, But I Will Talk To You Anyway

activist local former teacher: VOTE NO!!!--How I Came Up With This Strategy

chancellor: I Just Bought a House in DC--Four More Years!

Posted by: axolotl | May 12, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

You really are cranky, axolotl.
But, what is to be expected from a person who spent their vacation in Bermuda commenting here at the Post blog(ue) (sp).

Posted by: edlharris | May 12, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

eddy--where's that well known warmth and sense of humor?

Posted by: axolotl | May 12, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, I knew it couldn't last.
Miss Rhee is off to San Francisco to speak in 2 weeks at the Press Club.
Here's the blurb:
Please join us on Monday, May 24th as the Sacramento Press Club welcomes

Michelle Rhee is considered by many to be the most revolutionary – and controversial - figure in American education today. Since taking over the Washington D.C. school system in June 2007, Rhee’s blunt style and hard-charging determination to improve what has long been one of the country’s most troubled school systems has earned her both raves and condemnation. With the DC schools system now rapidly on the rise, education observers believe Rhee’s efforts could be a model for other districts across the nation.
In her first appearance before the Sacramento Press Club, Rhee, who is now engaged to Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, discusses her views on education reform, teacher accountability and the chances that the system she has built in DC could soon be on its way to schools right here in California.


WOW, DCPS is rapidly on the rise.
Is that all $100,000 could come up with.
That last line is nice though with the slight hint Miss Rhee might head off to those California Cottonfields
(Where labor camps are filled with worried men with broken dreams.
As close to wealth as daddy ever came.

http://www.traditionalmusic.co.uk/bluegrass-lyrics/California_cotton_fields.html)

Posted by: edlharris | May 12, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

"Where labor camps are filled with worried men with broken dreams.
As close to wealth as daddy ever came."

I thought it sounded like John Steinbeck.

Hey, Ed - maybe the Sacramento Press Club should get a load of the stats on DCPS before her talk there. I'll get Guy Brandenburg on the case.

Posted by: efavorite | May 13, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

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