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Education need not be one size fits all

Posted: Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'd like to share a few facts in response to some negative comments that have recently been made by Mr. Paul Zobeck in regards to charter schools and home-schools.

Recently, the Borough Assembly has asked the school board for a financial report regarding school funding. The reasoning for this is that the school district was denied $4 million in funding because the district has a savings account which the borough feels it should use. However, the majority of this savings account is earmarked for certain uses. The Borough Assembly has requested to know the specifics as to where these dollars are going so that it will be clear whether or not the additional $4 million is needed.

The request was made to determine if the district needs more funding, not to investigate charter and home school necessity, as was implied by Mr. Zobeck. According to the KPBSD Budget reports (available at the KPBSD website), Connections, Aurora Borealis, Montessori and Kaleidoscope do not require any more money for their size than the non-chartered public schools do. The teachers and support staff receive they same salary as everyone else.

In reality, charter and home schools cost the district less to run. Funding for all public schools is determined by state laws. All charter and non-charter schools receive state funds. However, non-charter schools receive additional LOCAL funding that charter schools do not. The only expense to the district is housing costs, since our local charter schools reside in district buildings. Charter schools are not locally funded and do not use up any funding that goes to the area non-chartered public schools.

In regards to whether or not charter schools are superior academically, check out the academic proficiency results (available at the KPBSD website) for Aurora Borealis and Kaleidoscope. Thanks to the rigorous and alternative course loads and the dedicated teachers, these charter school students are able to soar academically. Having a charter gives these schools the freedom to determine their own curriculum and lesson plans, which greatly benefits their students at no additional cost to the district.

All students deserve an excellent education. If parents feel that their child would excel in a charter school more than a non-charter school, or vice versa, there is no reason to limit that. We are all members of the same community: all of our needs can be met. Charter schools are public schools. Connections and other home school programs are public schools. They are available for everyone who chooses to enroll. They serve the public need for education.

Education need not be limited to 'one size fits all' schooling.

Hannah Coffman

Kenai



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