Cuts may doom up to 18 charter schools

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  • sam
    Oct. 28, 2009 3:34 p.m.

    We put our youngest son in a new charter school this year. He was struggling to no avail at our neighborhood Jr. High. It is now the end of the first term and he is enjoying school again,he is learning and feeling good about himself. I can not believe the change. The math program is fabulous. He is "getting it". This charter school has been an answer to a prayer!! If this charter school closes, there is NO WAY I will send my son back to our neighborhood Jr. High. Competition breeds excellence. It's time for the traditional schools to get a little competition. By the way, parents volunteer a minimum of 30 hours each school year. I helped get an after school band program going. I love being truly involved in my son's education.

  • Jeff
    Oct. 25, 2009 7:30 p.m.

    I teach at a charter school because I was unable to find a position at a district school. I can not say which type of school is better for all children or for society. I only know that I love my charter school and I love my job. I admit that charter schools probably do not have to deal with all the problems of a district school, that we use taxes that might have gone to a district school, and that we sometimes give preference to relatives. The problem is that district schools have too much adminstration, too many scandals, and too much violence. That is why charter schools are popular. Both systems have there positives and negatives.

  • student
    Oct. 19, 2009 2:38 p.m.

    i have 3 siblings that have been taught at 3 different high schools. all three of them are very successfull. i am at a charter school and love it. charters are an option that work for some and dont for others. i love them my siblings might not have. both serve a purpose and are a good option.

  • Money Saving Suggestion
    Oct. 17, 2009 6:29 p.m.

    Charter schools turn out students whose education is on par or better than regular public schools and the do it for less cost.

    Let's have all the regular public schools changed over to the charter school format. That will save tons of money!

  • Fund Charters = to Districts
    Oct. 16, 2009 8:30 p.m.

    @Quit funding schools two ... | 4:21 p.m. Oct. 16, 2009

    I wholeheartedly agree. Charter schools should be funded the same level as District schools. Could you imagine what such an increase in funding to charter schools would have then? Hopefully statewide equalization will include more resources to Charter schools to bring them closer to the same level of funding as the Districts.

    What you fail to understand is how wasteful our District schools spending is. Compare the two systems. You will see the Districts have more money yet less ability to meet individual student's needs because they burn so much on administration or cheap frills instead of instructors and teachers. That is a clear indication of an incredibly wasteful District system, and a rallying cry for all Charter schools.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 16, 2009 6:36 p.m.

    Here is my problem with the School Districts reimbursing the Charter Schools. School Districts have the taxing authority and have to hold truth in taxation meetings every time they want to raise taxes. The School Districts have to provide every house in their districts a yearly accounting of where the money is spent. This usually comes in the mail and includes pie graphs.

    Charter Schools are now getting School District tax money, they should be required to mail a yearly accounting of how their money is spent to every house in all the School Districts that they are receiving money from.

  • Quit funding schools two ...
    Oct. 16, 2009 4:21 p.m.

    different ways. The state legislature can not continue to fund charter schools one way and district schools another. It has always been unfair to the district schools. They have always received less money because legislators are heavily involved in owning and running charter schools. There truth is out.

  • To:TO: Mc
    Oct. 16, 2009 4:06 p.m.

    "So, yes the Charters are taking money from the Districts."

    You only go it 25% right...

    When a student leaves a district school and goes to a charter, 25% of the local taxes their parents pay follows the student to the charter...True.

    Where you got it wrong is... 75% of the local taxes
    paid by a charter students parent, stays at the district!
    The state then gives $1427 per pupil to the charter school. Approximately $500 less than the district students.

    Check it out, the district makes money when a charter student leaves...really!

  • Dump Charters? Are you NUTS?
    Oct. 16, 2009 12:36 a.m.

    We live in a free country. If parents can band together, using their public money (taxes) and volunteering their time to come up with a great educational model, why in the heck is that so offensive to so many on this board? Because they can't get in? Because they can't drive their kids? Because there is more work involved, and so they'd rather pass the buck to an over-paid school board than to a group of involved, caring parents?

    Nuts, I tell you.

    A well-run charter school is head and shoulders above a "regular" public school. Parents make the rules, help enforce the rules and more teaching is able to occur because of it. There is more respect among students and teachers, and everyone rises to a higher standard. There will NEVER be equality for everyone in every single situation, but anyone--ANYONE can be involved in a charter school if they'd like to put a little elbow grease and a bit of time into their child's education.

    The state would be crazy to underfund these schools. Keep charters...and open more!

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 15, 2009 6:43 p.m.

    " Disillusioned | 7:19 a.m. Oct. 13, 2009
    As a former public school UT special educator,"

    Thankfully this person is a former educator. He or she should apologize to all those children he or she left behind.

    Charter schools obey the laws. The state conducts the lottery, and the schools accept kids in order that they are listed, meaning your either misinformed or a flat out liar. The only claim you had against Charters that had accuracy to it was providing transportation. All the other things you said were wildly inaccurate. It is no wonder you are a former public educator.

  • volunteermom
    Oct. 15, 2009 11:43 a.m.

    The most important factor in a students life is support out of the classroom,no matter what kind of school. If there is no help,support or expectations at home how can anyone expect success? It boggles my mind that schools and teachers get all the blame for the failings of public education. I dare every parent to go to school with their child for one day. The social and behavior battles the teachers face daily eat up too much teaching time.

  • anon
    Oct. 15, 2009 10:05 a.m.

    The nice thing about private education is it is very affordable in Utah when compared to other locations. We use this option too. If we couldn't afford it, we'd go to a charter school. The problem with public education in Utah is mediocrity is embraced with "look how great our system is with so little money spent!" Yeah, it's mediocre at best. The song and dance we get is just that - a song and dance.

  • abc
    Oct. 14, 2009 9:40 p.m.

    Charter schools ARE public schools.

    As a licensed, dual-certified teacher with an advanced degree and lots of experience (in both 'public', private and charter schools) I can tell you that charter schools fill a need for parents who want to be involved, for students who struggle in traditional public schools and for teachers who want freedom to teach at the top of their game.

    I would never consider teaching anywhere else. Unless of course, you close my charter school and force me back into 'public' education where I am just one among the masses.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 14, 2009 4:09 p.m.

    Alpine District stopped using Investigations Math 2 years ago. Each school had an open house and parents were invited to look at the approved text books and help decide what would be used in each school. The School Community Councils made the final decisions. Each school was able to choose and the parents were key to making the decision.

    Please stop spreading the rumor that Alpine District is still using Investigations.

    Also, my Alpine District School and the other three Alpine District Schools in the area have better Math and Language Arts scores on the State tests then either of the Charter Schools in the same area.

  • Joel Wright
    Oct. 14, 2009 3:12 p.m.

    Charter schools are not better than traditional public schools, only different. Each child is unique, and our educational system should have as many options as possible to allow each child to find the best fit for their abilities and interests.

    Approximately 5% of the students in grades K-12 now attend charter schools, and approximately 15% attend charter schools in my school district (Alpine). One of the primary reasons many people are choosing charter schools in my neighborhood is due to the "Investigations Math" that is used by Alpine School District that some people believe is good, and others believe is terrible.

    Utah has been a very homogeneous culture since the pioneers arrived in 1847. That has already changed in Salt Lake County, and is starting to change in Utah County. We won't all go to the same church, or the same school. We will instead have many people with different value systems, and different approaches to learning. I think we'll all be better off because of it. Note that only 5% of Utah's children are in charter schools, 7% in Colorado, 9% in Arizona, and 40% in Washington DC.

    Oct. 14, 2009 2:54 p.m.

    My kids just got in this year. It has been the best year so far for my kids. I hope parents don't take this lying down as I know I won't.

  • to 8:41
    Oct. 14, 2009 12:21 p.m.

    The Districts still have the power to tax. That is where districts have a distinct funding advantage. However it is the Charters, who have less funding that are at minimum providing an adequate education equal to or greater than the more expensive District schools. The wise thing to do is to see why charters can do so much more with so much less, and see if we can get the right people in charge of the Districts to do something with all the wasted money.

  • TO: Mc
    Oct. 14, 2009 8:41 a.m.

    You are correct on every point, EXCEPT #3. Charter Schools are taking money from Districts starting with the 2009-10 school year.

    HB 2 from the 2009 Legislative Session mandates that school districts pass on no more then 25% of their local taxing per student to the Charter Schools. Go look it up it is a complicated method to determine the exact amount of money the Districts have to send to the Charters. The catch is that the Legislature did not raise the funding to the Districts to cover this expense. So, yes the Charters are taking money from the Districts.

    Here is the MYTH that Charter Schools proponents are spreading about funding. Districts do NOT receive any money for any student not enrolled in the District Schools. If your child attends a Charter School the WPU money for your child goes to the Charter School. The State does not give WPU money to the Charters for transportation or lunch or similar programs that the Charter Schools do not offer, hence "less funding".

  • Anon 808
    Oct. 14, 2009 6:15 a.m.

    I was slow to come on Board for Charter Schools.

    I saw them as far to yuppie and far to Tidy and Whitey, Except in Hawaii, I saw them as a last ditch effort for White Flight.

    However I discovered with my kids that one size does not fit all, and public education can sometimes fit almost none.

    When my Grandson came to stay me Wife and I explored it as we knew some LDS Kids that went to Charter School and did just fine. 1 is on his Mission, and the Girl is at BYUH Studying somthing I can't spell.

    Charter Schools are a part and a vital part of the overall system.

    In Hawaii laws make the High Schools accept Charter School kids for Sports and othe stuff. My Grandsons Charter School had enough people for a Football Team but they where all playing for other Schools 2 on Maui and 1 on the Bis Island. The others live all over Ohau.

    I am not a fan of home schooling. The Mission is to Narrow and it can be used to cover up things that should not be covered up.

    Socialization is Vital to personal growth.

  • awsomeron
    Oct. 14, 2009 6:02 a.m.

    Charter Schools are a Vital Part of Public Education. Charter Schools are geared to the needs of the students.

    In Hawaii Charter Schools are vital, if you want to avoid the Expectation of No Expectation.

    The High School that my Grandason would go to sends 30% of the Grads to College.

    My Grandsons Charter School sends 90% and many take College Courses while still in High School.

    Many are Professional Kids Sufers, Models, Music, etc or their parents are Professionals, and the family is on the road alot.

    Most of My Grandsons Work is completed on his laptop, and EMailed in to the School. He attends live classes on the Internet and can take an active part. He can get help online from UH Students or go into the Campus and get help. His Math Teacher Teaches from Maui. The 660+ Students may be in any part of the World at any time.

    We where able to get him in because we applied early and the Local High School was more then Happy to grant us permission.

    He Gets Socialization at Church and Scouts and is in a very active High School Drama Club.

    Utah Charter Schools will be fine.

  • Just the Facts
    Oct. 13, 2009 11:07 p.m.

    1. Charter schools are PUBLIC schools. No tuition and they take any student who applies until the capacity of the school is met.

    2. Charter schools must test same as the district run schools. Same program.

    3. Charter schools must have licensed teachers just like the district run schools.

    4. Charter schools CAN'T raise taxes like district schools and rely on the legislature for funding, just like the district schools.

    5. Charter school can teach for less, can require uniforms and other things that are "not available" to the district schools.

    6. Hardly a school for the "rich". Our charter school has students from Sandy, Draper, West Jordan, West Valley, Taylorsville, Kearns and Magna.

    7. Charters must take disadvantaged students if they apply and cannot discriminate.

    8. Charter schools are just like district schools but run by parents who care about the education of their child with state oversight. Should a Charter school mess up, they can lose their charter, district schools can't be closed due to the lack of educating students.

    9. Charter schools win in my book and the students test better. See our IOWA scores at the state website.

  • Steven Jarvis
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:48 p.m.

    I love how many of the close charter arguments seem to be written by the same person over and over. Notice how they have the same cadence for the most part? That is a fingerprint of sort in writing which we educators call voice.

    This article should never have made it to press because the information had changed so much before printing that it has become wildly inaccurate. It was news for about an hour. Budget numbers that came out the same day showed much better prospects for next year's budget.

    Charters are for the most part non-frill education for a reduced cost than what would be used up at the local school. We stick to the basics and do them exceptionally well because students are taught on their ability level. It is something all public schools once did, but has been abandoned for all the newest approaches like Investigations math that Districts jump on. It is ironic that the innovation Charters have provided is the return to fundamental education principles. That is what has happened and one reason Charters are so wildly popular in Utah.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:09 p.m.

    re: Talk is Cheap; You are wrong, charter schools have the same IEP/Low SES/ELL students per capita as the regular districts. It is posted on the USOE website UPASS reporting for every school in the state---get your facts right.

  • Use tax for school funding
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:36 p.m.

    Education needs more funding PERIOD!

    Why don't we stop giving exemptions for popping out children? If you have 3 children you pay for 3 children if you have 10 children you pay for 10.

  • This is a good thing
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:09 p.m.

    Why all the doom and gloom? This isn't a bad thing. Isn't this the "innovation" and educational reform we have been waiting for?

    Yes, please close down underperforming and downright horrible Charters. They are a waste of educational dollars. All of these years down the road, Charters are no longer an "experiment" and need to put up the numbers or close. Since they have set themselves up from day one as the beacon of all that is right and good in education, let them be "innovative" enough to set the example. And, don't tell me that ALL Charters are superior. Some are, some are NOT. Charters were promoted on the platform of superior performance for less money. Get on with it!!!

    Next (or at the same time) please close down underperforming and downright horrible traditional public schools. They have had years to get things right and, if they haven't figured things out by now, they need to be closed.

    Listen to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sometime. He is calling for exactly what I have posted above. All schools that drink from the taxpayer trough need to be amazing or they need to be gone.

  • Mc
    Oct. 13, 2009 6:35 p.m.

    The amount of ignorance showing in these comments is mindboggling! I'll see if I can clear it up:

    1. Charter schools are NOT the same as private schools!
    2. Charter schools are public schools in that they receive public funding, but are run by private entities who have received a state approved charter and are subject to state standards.
    3. Funding of charter schools does not take away from school district funds. In fact, the district keeps part of the funding for the child who changes to a charter school and can use those funds to benefit the remaining children.
    4. Charter schools are not religious schools.
    5. If charter school enrollment goes down they lose funding and may face closure. If they do not do a good job of educating their students and responding to parental concerns their enrollment will go down and they may lose their charter. If they do a good job their enrollment goes up and they have waiting lists.
    6. Charter schools are required to use a lottery system for enrollment, so they cannot choose only exceptional students or those without disabilities.

  • To: to Charter Bias 9:41
    Oct. 13, 2009 5:24 p.m.

    Charters ARE wildly successful!
    Test scores are not everything! But, I have looked at the data, most charters are on par with or outperform their district counterpart. Very few do not. Anyone can look at the USOE website.

    Charters provide choice:(different curriculum above and beyond the state core) like:
    -Core Knowledge
    -literature based curriculum
    -schools for drop outs
    -schools for students with autism
    -schools for refugee families
    -project based learning
    -music/art based learning
    -performance based learning
    -"Green" schools
    -service based learning
    -Dual Immersion
    -children in poverty
    -deaf students
    .....I could go on

    BTW students in Utah are funded on a per pupil basis, charters do NOT take money from the district.
    Parents take students from the district!

    When a student leaves the district only 25% of the "local tax dollars" follow the student to the charter. 75% stays at the district school, districts win when charters open in their area.

  • Charter School Parent
    Oct. 13, 2009 5:11 p.m.

    I have never understood why charter schools receive less dollars per pupil than other public schools. It would seem, the State School Board has a bias against charter schools. In my opinion, the only logical choice is that ALL public schools (district and charter) should receive the exact same dollars per pupil. Charter schools are already disadvantaged for receiving $500 less than other public schools. There is a reason why parents are opting for charter schools. Better curriculum and increased parental involvement are usually the reasons most join charter schools. I would think the State School Board would be concerned for all children in public schools equally. Equal dollars per pupil for all children in public schools is the only solution that makes sense.

  • Elitist charters
    Oct. 13, 2009 4:53 p.m.

    If charter schools are "real public schools" then why shouldn't they face the same threat of school closures that districts have had to deal with in times of economic hardship. Why should charters deserve special treatment? If there's not the money to keep them open then they can face closure just as traditional neighborhood schools have. I didn't see any charter school folks crying when neighborhood schools were closed in Granite and Jordan School Districts.

  • Forced?
    Oct. 13, 2009 4:29 p.m.

    Nobody is forced to go to district schools. Charter Schools should be done away with and for those who want private schooling should pay the price and send their kids.

  • kdm - Love Charter School
    Oct. 13, 2009 3:05 p.m.

    I hate driving my kids to charter school, but I love the APA charter school. My daughter had trouble reading and the elementary school wanted to put her in special ed classes. We moved her to APA and in a short time she was reading at her grade level and has done great every since. My children are getting a better education at APA. The elementary school near my house is overflowing. They had to bring in portable classrooms this year to handle all the students. Please do not cut funding for charter schools.

  • Charters Can Fix Public Schools
    Oct. 13, 2009 3:03 p.m.

    I like the charter idea and I think most have done well. Let's hold public schools to the same rules and funding that we use for the charters. Let's start by eliminating free transportation. When we do this we'll eliminate the need for rigid school boundaries which make staffing the schools so very difficult. All schools can set class size at 25 or less. Loosen the regs as you do for charters and we can all compete fairly. Everyone wins!

  • I heard there's a recession
    Oct. 13, 2009 2:16 p.m.

    In case you didn't get the memo, we are having a recession and we need to cut out the fluff. We can live without charter schools. They are a distraction and they actually do very little to help education. Times are tough. Suck it up.

  • Charter Schools should be dumped
    Oct. 13, 2009 2:13 p.m.

    They are an extraneous frill that we can live without. They are not better than regular public schools; they just make parents "feel" better. Get rid of this albatross.

  • Why is choice a problem
    Oct. 13, 2009 2:05 p.m.

    My experience with charter schools has been exceptionally positive, especially in terms of test scores on uniform testing, but I can't speak for all charter schools in Utah. I haven't compared test scores of charter schools to public schools(except for the one charter school I've looked into for my children). Although, one thing I'm having a hard time with is why we should eliminate parent's choices if the charter option doesn't cost more, test scores notwithstanding. I like the fact that I can research a schools testing scores, charter and teaching philosophy and make a choice, whether it's public or charter. I think it would be a major step backwards if the Utah legislature significantly reduced charter school funding.

  • Odd Cost Arguments
    Oct. 13, 2009 1:48 p.m.

    I keep hearing people propogate the myth that it would be cheaper not to pay for charter schools AND public schools, as if the two costs are duplicative. That's like saying it would be cheaper not to have to fund Elementary Schools, Jr. Highs and Highschools so we should have K-12 all in one school. While there might be some modest savings in reduced administration costs, you still have to pay for the schooling on a per student basis regardless of how you package it. Charter schools are just a different (and cheaper) option. The cost savings argument is nonsensical and contrary to the facts, and yet I see it over and over in the posts on this board.

  • Anon.
    Oct. 13, 2009 1:41 p.m.

    Get over the arguments. There are good charter schools and there are good public schools. Look at the options and decide what works for you and your family. But really? You can't lump all charters and all public schools together and assume that because one does well (or not) they all do. I'm a public school teacher and have seen good and bad charter schools and good and bad public schools. Parents have a voice in both-in public schools there is accountability beyond what parents want. And charter schools doing more with less? I have friends who provide their own transportation and school supplies for charter schools. Not necessarily more with less, but more with less public money.

  • To: Anon. 9:37 am
    Oct. 13, 2009 1:25 p.m.

    And in 2008, the Legislature reduced their direct funding of Charter Schools by that 25%. The Legislature failed to fund the District Schools by an additional 25% to cover that which they are now requiring Districts to send to Charter Schools.

    In addition, my neighbors, my parents, and some of my siblings pay property taxes to the school district and have no children in the K-12 age group.

    I don't mind funding the Charter Schools, but the argument about less money is a red herring. The Charter Schools were/are sold to the Legislature and USOE as a way to educate at a lower cost. Charters do not offer busing, so they do not get transportation dollars this equals less funding. Charters do not offer a wide variety of classes, hence less teachers and less spent. Charters tend to hire teachers straight out of college and tend to not have them longer then 5 years, also less spent.

    I do mind having to fund Charter Schools at the expense of the Districts. Change the funding model back to pre-2008.

  • With apologies to Jefferson
    Oct. 13, 2009 12:53 p.m.


    There are no "inalienable rights". Life, liberty, and property (and even, depending on your definition, the pursuit of happiness) can all be taken away by a government that is willing to do so. In fact, of the three (or four), the only "inalienable right" that a government must grant most of the time is life (if you kill all or most of your subjects, then you aren't left with much of a country to govern--even Stalin only liquidated minorities).

    You hint at the right questions. Should the government be involved in education? Should public money (tax dollars) be used to fund education? The problem is that you answer the questions with useless philosophical rhetoric. If you really want to address the questions, then determine whether it is worthwhile to have a minimum educational standard in our country as opposed to only an educated upper class (as you apparently endorse). Would our current society, including our level of technological accomplishment, be possible without educated masses?

    If you want to get into a constitutional debate, then don't get into the trap of equating "government" with "federal government”. States are free to provide public schooling in this country.

  • Mc
    Oct. 13, 2009 12:48 p.m.

    Anonymous | 11:43 a.m

    Your comment shows that you do not understand how charter school funding works. You are not paying any more because of charter schools, but your property taxes could go up if all charter school kids have to be absorbed back into the public schools they came from.

    Theory vs. Reality

    Just because the charter school your child attended didn't meet her needs, doesn't mean it wasn't good for someone else, just like a public school may meet the needs of most children while some children fall between the cracks. Charter schools are not all the same any more than public schools are. If they do a poor job they will lose their charter and funding due to low enrollment. If they do an excellent job they will have waiting lists and enough enrollment to keep their funding.

  • There was a time
    Oct. 13, 2009 12:36 p.m.

    that charter schools and public schools were funded from different funds, thus increasing the overall education budget, and reducing strain on public schools both in space and finances. But now, the legislature cut the funding that was earmarked for charter schools and decided that the public schools should make up the difference from the remaining money in their budgets which have also faced severe cuts in these economic times.

    When the legislature first started charter schools they said the money would never come from funds appropriated to the regular school districts. Now they've changed their minds and have hurt all school children at regular and charter public schools.

    If you are for or against charter schools, you should remove the elected officials responsible for this fiasco as well as the district split legislation that has also cost the local districts a bundle.

  • stumblefall
    Oct. 13, 2009 12:01 p.m.

    Ragnar, where did you magically appear from all of a sudden? Your comments are brilliant and right on the money. You have an ally in me any time you need it.

    Kudos to whatever school you attended.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 11:43 a.m.

    Charter schools are an experiment that has gone horribly wrong.

    It is time to stop the bleeding and return to what was working. Stop making me pay for the real school AND the charter school. All the charters did was double the amount of money needed for overhead. Too many empty classrooms at the schools, charter and real, is a big waste of money.

    If the legislators weren't making money off the charters, we wouldn't have them.

  • Seriuosly (cont)
    Oct. 13, 2009 11:21 a.m.

    As for the poster whose Charter has spec ed. Having 1.5 teachers with 2 full time aids and a half time speach is not efficient. The school in my area has 34 spec ed students not all are mainstreamed because of major behavior issues. There is 1 spec ed teacher and 2 full times aids 1 one which is assinged to 1 student. The average scores for those students when up 6%. An incredible number for spec ed students. Charters DO NOT DO BETTER OR MORE with less. Comparing apples to apples proves this to be a lie every time. Thanks for playing though.

  • Seriously
    Oct. 13, 2009 11:20 a.m.

    Disillusioned nailed it. Charter schools do not play on a level playing field and still on average do worse that public schools. Doing more with less is a play on numbers. Most Charter schools don't take special needs students (some do). They are far and a way the most expensive students in the school systems. The fact that most charter schools aren't doing any better than public schools is a complete joke. People who take kids to Charter schools put up with the inconvenience because they care about their childs education. This leaves the public schoold with all of the kids whose parents don't care mixed with some who do and yet they still perform as well as Charters.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 11:12 a.m.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with public schools when kids are fleeing them by the thousands and turning to a place where they can actually learn something besides Black History Week, anti-American sentiments, anti-Columbus tripe in October, and Obama rah rah indoctrination.

  • Mc
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:47 a.m.

    Charter schools have more incentive to improve and respond to parents. If they don't parents will pull their kids out and the school will receive a negative reputation leading to low enrollment and eventual closure. Public schools do not have that incentive. They can continue on unresponsive to parents and student's educational needs and never face any consequences. The district will not close the school. There will always be plenty of students to keep the school open unless it's in an aging area (even then districts often keep schools open when enrollment drops too low to be economically feasible.) We cannot weed out underperforming public schools or poor teachers. They are entrenched in a system that protects them. Our whole system would be better if run like the charter school system. Good charter schools have waiting lists while bad ones face closure due to low enrollment.

  • Theory vs. Reality
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:44 a.m.

    When my daughter switched to a Charter school, we were all very excited. After only a few months, it became obvious we had made a huge mistake. We returned to a traditional school, and our other children will not attend Charter schools. They lack resources. They lack qualified teachers. They lack facilities. They claim to be "more efficient" than traditional public schools, but they are just more impoverished. I wish them all the luck in the world. In theory, they are a good idea. In reality, they don't even come close to living up to their marketing brochures!

  • Charter = Religious Schools
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:39 a.m.

    Religious organizations should not be supported by the government and we should maintain a seperation of church & state.

    From my perspective, all this talk about "Parent Choice" etc., is just a way promote a particular religious belief and conservative ideology into the minds of children.

    As long as my tax dollars are not used to promote religion or political ideology, fine. But if you can't support your own "Agenda Driven" schools, then its time to pony up the bucks, and not demand that the public pays for additional schools that will cater to someone's personal agenda.

  • WBM5
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:20 a.m.

    Have you ever tried to make your school netter? Come on! Really? They don't want to be better, they want to teach to the middle of the curve student. They don't want to change and they don't listen to outsiders aka parents. I find it very rare that any teacher doesn't think they know more about education than parents. I am smart I have a degree in science. I have home schooled and sent my children normal public schools and also to charter schools. They best schooling my kids had was when I oversaw their education. The second best was the charter schools. I have even spoken directly with a governor about education especially for talented and gifted kids and was told our schools are good enough. I have been a mother for 23 years and I am certainly not stupid about the attitudes of the teachers, the principles, the school districts and even the elected officials. They think more about money and effort. Than they do about education.

  • Mr. Johnson
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:18 a.m.

    I've been a teacher for over thirty years. I can see what's going on. Much of a teachers time is wasted trying to get students to do work and not misbehave. Most of the time teachers take the blame for not managing students correctly, but many students don't use their school time properly. Teachers and schools are not parents! It's not always the teachers fault that respectful behavior wasn't taught at home. As a result, many responsible parents place their children into charter schools attempting to gain the best possible education for their children. Can you blame them? It has nothing to do with money and wealth. If you place teachers from a charter school into a regular school, they'll have the same teaching struggles. Finding students who don't want to work, are bored, and finding mischief.

  • TO: Charter Bias 9:41
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:10 a.m.

    Wildly Successful? I keep hearing that, but the data doesn't agree. According to the data on the USOE Web-site, most Charter Schools are a little behind is academic achievement.

    Don't make the "wildly successful" Claim unless you can support it with the data.

    A handful are very successful, most are not.

  • Parent of Charter School Student
    Oct. 13, 2009 10:02 a.m.

    My kids used to attend school at public schools and there were some benefits they no longer enjoy (such as a bus system and field trips), but it's worth it to me to drive my kids to school every other day (neighborhood carpool system) to keep them in a charter school. I'm not sure why the funding works the way it does, but I can say my kids are perfoming much better and enjoy learning more in the charter school system. I can't speak for all of them, but my experience has been positive, for what that's worth.

  • Nonsensical Budget Cuts
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:55 a.m.

    I'm no math professor, but can someone explain how cutting funding for charter schools (which already operate on $500 less per student) thereby forcing some of the charter schools out of business and pushing some of the students into the more expensive per student public schools saves the state money? It seems to me every student in a charter school is saving the State $500 a year. Forcing charter schools out of business by trying to save $750 a year is like starving the golden goose to death to save money on feed. I was educated in public schools and after my experiences with Charter schools I'm a big believer in that system. If nothing else, it's nice to have the choice in education and it costs the state much less.

  • Don't Overreact
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:50 a.m.

    From the few details of the article, most administrators of the Charter Schools are simply saying that the cuts will affect aides, playground supervisors and other "extras" that Charter schools have in place.
    I'm married to a Charter school teacher and have three sisters teaching in public districts. My wife has an aide and my sisters do not. My wife calculated the amount of pay for all the aides (each teacher has one aide) which equaled close to $190,000. The cuts will eliminate some of the extras of many charter schools, but if the Charters board includes a competent financial member (as most do) they will find the way to stay open.
    This is not a doomsday scenario.

  • Tab L. Uno
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:48 a.m.

    Charter Schools seem to be a middle ground between traditional public schools and school vouchers. In dealing with a governmental funding shortage, perhaps uniform performance guidelines need to be put into place and have Charter Schools and Public Schools be judged on the same basis and instead allow each school to be considered for closure instead of one or the other. Charter Schools are a new school reform effort and has not been given sufficient time to demonstrate the effectiveness of the concept. Now is the time to take a real look, however, at what works and doesn't work. Poorer performing schools regardless of whether its a Charter School or traditional public school may need to be looked at for reorganization and restructuring or even closure. This is about fairness and what works.

  • Charter Bias
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:41 a.m.

    Public Schools are biased against charter schools because they play by different rules and they're wildly successful at it. My wife taught at both charter schools and public schools. The charter system required teachers to earn their paycheck (and bonuses) based on merit and student performance rather than tenure and the instruction and students were far ahead of their public counterparts, all on substantially less funding per student ($500 less per student according to this article). I was educated at public school, but after seeing the difference in the two systems I will have all my kids in charter schools. Public schools can't stand the success of charter schools and so they lobby very hard to shut them down. It's bizarre, but true. There's a built in bias because the education administration in Utah was brought up under the public school system. We need to break the stereotypes and lies the public schools put forth. If there's a proposed cut why isn't it the same for charters as public schools? Why do charter schools receive less per student? It's bias, but charters will survive.

  • Ragnar
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:39 a.m.

    Dear Anonymous,

    If rights are derived from Constitutions and not from our nature, then man is free game for any despot, tyrant, dictator, president, governor, or voice of any people who may write and alter any constitution that suits them. Constitutions should be derived from inalienable rights to ensure they're never violated. It's not the other way around. How's that for logic?

    So again, there is no such thing as a right to education... or healthcare.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:37 a.m.

    To Anon @ 7:30

    Until 2008, when a student chose to leave the district 100% of the local tax dollars their parents pay stayed at the district where they were no longer being educated.

    Now the district has to allow 25% of the local tax dollars to follow the student while 75% stays at the district!

    You do the math, 25% follows the student 75% stays at the district where the student is no longer!

    Looks like charter schools are the best thing to happen to districts!

    Disillusioned; charters don't get to cream the best students, they have to use a LOTTERY, they have, according to a state study, similar amounts of SPED kids as their district counterparts and they DO NOT SEGREGATE them, MY child is in with the regular classroom. Where he is doing well and thoroughly loves his teacher and friends.

  • Take Orem High...for example
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:32 a.m.

    Kids sleeping through class...teachers don't bother to keep their attention.

    Kids ignoring the teachers and talking the entire class period...disrupting the entire class.

    Any parent or child that CARES about QUALITY of education would have NO CHOICE but a private or charter school. The Regular state schools are unbelievably lacking.

    Kids take tests whenever THEY decide. RE-takes all the time. What happened to a good education in this state?

    Drugs. Disobedience. Lets take our schools back. The kids that don't want to be there...out they go.

    Parents, you are the first line of defence. Bring the regular schools up to par, or close them and turn them all over to charter-type educators.

    Principals...DEMAND respect, obedience and quality education. Get rid of teachers that don't care...there are plenty!

    Bring on MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS. They understand and perform. Unlike OREM HIGH and others.

  • the american system
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:28 a.m.

    of education is out of step, look at the other countries who are successful, then look at how are children are taught...duh , memorize and get the prize!

  • Charter Who
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:26 a.m.

    I enjoy reading the diatribe on both sides of charter school education. As we all know, there are only so many education dollars in Utah to go around. Now with the URS retirement system underfunded, some say by as much as $6.5 Billion, how much new funding will there be for today's classroom, versus playing catch-up on a defined benefit pension program for service already rendered? There are 560,000+ students in the state. How much of the underfunded pension plan is educator related? How much per student is that underfunding? Compare that unfunded liability with the annual per student expenditure. We have a problem. This is a problem that has to be recognized and dealt with soon.

    Charter Schools are an alternative. It is too early to tell how effective or ineffective they will be as a whole. Individual PUBLIC charter schools will vary widely in educating our children, just as the traditional public schools do, even within the same district.

    I would hope our Legislature will keep the needs of today's and tomorrow's students at the forefront of their decision making process, while holding all educators accountable.

  • George
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:23 a.m.

    It has been my experience that there are good and bad district scools and good and bad charter schools. We explored the charter school option when our oldest went almost an entire year without being taught math. The charter school option has worked very well for us.

  • BIG D
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:17 a.m.

    jim | 9:01 p.m. Oct. 12, 2009

    Yes there is is called administration!!

  • Uninformed
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:15 a.m.

    There appears to be an ubundance of know-it-alls who have posted their comments on here. Are charter schools a good option? Yes. Can traditional public schools be a good option? Yes. The key is to have the parents involved in their children's lives. I've had my children at both a traditional public school and a charter school. My children have performed better at the charter school and we have loved it. I've been impressed with the enthusiasm the teachers have had. Having said that, I think there are great teachers in traditional public education also. Parents, don't waste your time arguing which option is better, instead use your time and resources for your children. Turn off your T.V.'s. Read with them. Study with them. Quiz them. Make it fun. Learning can and should be fun. Good luck to all.

  • Wake up people
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:05 a.m.

    "Cut Even More" is obviously a charter troll purposely using grammatical errors to provide proof of public ed's lack of performance. Taking the bait is confirmation of an education void of common sense.

  • The Good 'Ole Boys
    Oct. 13, 2009 9:01 a.m.

    in the legislature won't let it happen. Morley and his ethical (sarcasm) buddies make too much $ off of charter schools. A lot of these charter schools are just cash cows for overflowing greed! If it does happen, it will be good riddance!

  • Reality
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:58 a.m.

    Public education accounts for roughly 50% of the entire Utah state budget. The battle cry is more, more, more. There seems to be a fundamental belief in this thread by 90% of the posters that more money will actually fix the problem. When in the history of public education has this ever been the case? When in the history of Utah public education has the desires of parents ever been foremost in the minds of school boards and teachers unions? Public schools have been turned into a babysitters club where wonderful teachers, laboring in the trenches are charged with parenting first and teaching second. Why? The government and the unions have placed these excellent teachers into a crippled system from the get go. Where is the sanity in that? The cold hard truth is unions only care about the union. Look at the past strikes, the defense of horrible teachers, and perpetuation of indoctrination, and multiple Capitol Hill tantrums as proof. Administrators are in permanent lawsuit prevention mode. Look at the policies and parental interaction if you doubt that. Public schools are broke and destitute. More money will not change that reality. More money? How about more reality.

  • polov
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:56 a.m.

    so utah , biggest class rooms , losing good teachers and continuing the gouging at all cost. well this will rise up and snap you back!

  • to: Fred
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:54 a.m.

    You can view all Charter and District schools' test scores at the USOE website. Test scores are available for all public schools from last school year. If the school opened this year there will not be a test score until next September/October. It is the AYP and CRT scores that are available. I have compared the Charter School in the area against the District Schools in the area and the District Schools have better scores on the test.

    I would love to see enrollment figures for the Charter Schools. I know where to find them for my District, but I am unable to find them for the Charter Schools in the area.

  • Big Joe
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:51 a.m.

    BTW - to those who blame bad teachers you need to look at the whole picture. Our test scores in my class and other classes were extremely low. Parents blamed the school for having bad teachers. Nobody cared to look at the fact that many of our students who were illegal, would leave the country for two to three months at a time then return. Those kids got absolutely no education while they were gone, yet they still took the standardized tests with the kids that had been there. This dragged the entire school's scores way below the national average. The kids who were in school the entire time were the ones who performed extremely well, but only the teachers got to see that because we knew the kids.

    Charter schools just allow us to justify paying for different education. Few, if any, illegal immigrants go to charters. This makes the charters scores look better and the other public shools look worse. Why? Because the other schools are left with the underperforming illegals, while the charters get the kids who are there the whole year. This would be my only argument to keep charters, but that is a poor reason.

  • Where can I sign up?
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:48 a.m.

    I love this state, but if they choose to shoot down good education through charter schools by the time my kids are ready for school, I'll just go somewhere where they support good charter schools.

  • Fred
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:38 a.m.

    Oh and by the way some of may want to rethink your love of charter schools, President Obama and Arnie Duncan his Secretary of Education are charter school advocates, and you know that President Obama has not been right about anything.

  • Fred
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:36 a.m.

    Hey things are getting better, it was about thirty comments before the great satan (UEA) was brought into the discussion. It is time for open disclosure, publish all charter school test scores, just like we do for the other "public" schools. I would also like to see the enrollment numbers for charter schools on the first day of class, and then see the enrollment numbers on the last day of class. A typical complaint is that charter student enrollment is high in August, and low at the end of the year. I would like to see actual statistics to show if that is true or not. I have been reading the charter posts for the last several years, and I have read many claims of greatness, but I have yet to see anyone post a schools actual test score. Its great to think that charters are the answer to all education problems, but where is the proof?

  • jbm
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:33 a.m.

    The charter school in our district has teachers unlicensed. They were also reprimanded last year for not meeting special education needs. Someone also asked for a student to be examined for special education services and the special educaiton teacher refused to test the student. And if you are looking to move to Utah to educate your children I would suggest not!

  • Reality
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:31 a.m.

    Cut the 1/3 of charter schools that are performing below the regular schools on standardized tests.

    It shouldn't be too hard to do. There are plenty to choose from.

    Charters are just taking money from the real schools anyway. Near me the locas school is sitting with 3 empty classrooms and the charter school next door (almost) is sitting with just as many empty rooms. Redundant services are wasting a LOT of tax money.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:31 a.m.

    A major difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives is the belief in what should be funded by the Govt through taxation and what should be paid for privately.

    In the extreme, the Conservatives believe that nothing is so important to society that it should be provided for all through taxation, while the extreme Libs believe that virtually everything should be provided by govt through taxation.

    Most of us believe that there are some things that fall into that category...

    I believe that Education is at the top of a very short list of things that are so important to society that we all should help pay for it through taxation. A well educated society benefits all of us.

    Charter schools represent a different model of public education. So far, test scores overall suggest they aren't working as well as we hoped, or as many claim.

    A few are very successful, most are only modestly so, but they do provide an alternative choice.

    They are certainly a better way of providing school choice that vouchers to support private schools.

  • Room for both
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:26 a.m.

    There is room for both charter and traditional schools in our system. There is also misinformation about both types of schools. I know some charter schools that have no direction, and the students suffer. One school, in particular, has no rules nor structure for the students to follow, and when those children wind up at regular public schools, they have a lot of ground to make up. They are also lost on how to follow rules.

  • Big Joe
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:19 a.m.

    I was a teacher for many years and left because I was sick of seeing where my money went. Instead of using charter schools why don't we quit paying for free meals to illegal immigrants? Why don't we quit giving free education to illegal immigrants?

    In my classroom I had anywhere from 8-15 illegal immigrant students throughout the year. My class had a total of 32-35 kids. The immigrants all got free breakfast and lunch. During breaks (year round school) parents and older siblings got free breakfast and lunch. If we used the money to improve existing education and quit paying for charter schools, illegal immigrants, and overinflated administrator salaries, maybe we could provide top notch education for our kids.

  • Evets
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:15 a.m.

    From a retired managers perspective it seems to me that if we have a shortage of education dollars we should put more into what gives us the biggest bang for the buck. From what I gather charters do as good, and maybe better, than traditional public schools and charters operate on a smaller budget. With this in mind, I would hold the rate on charters, decrease the amount going to traditional public schools, and encourage more charters. This would educate more students for less money. For the long term I would try and see what "works" in charters and try to incorporate that into traditional public schools.

  • Had Children in Charter
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:14 a.m.

    My children were at a charter school and I was quite sickened by the horrible education that they received. I observed in the classrooms and couldn't believe how terrible the teachers were. Obviously there was a reason that I took my children to the charter school to begin with.

    However, because I could not afford private education for my children I had two options. I decided on the district schools. I believe that even though some of the teachers should retire because they are stuck in there methods of teaching, there are a lot of teachers that are doing very well for students. I am very involved with who my children get as teachers and having more choice in the districts is a better option for our family. Having a choice between two horrible teachers at a grade level at a charter school isn't much of a choice.

  • goobye mva
    Oct. 13, 2009 8:14 a.m.

    hopefully mountainville academy wiil be the first cut on the list. they are awful.

  • to Fact 8:59
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:51 a.m.

    My son in a charter high school. He has a fee wavier.We're not rich far from it. My husband has been unemployed for 5 months. Our son goes to school at 7:00 am and then we pick him up at 3:00pm drop him off at his work untill 7:30 pm five days a week he does this. So rich no fee wavier yes hard work you bet. So you can say what you want but as for your facts your wrong!

  • Ragnar is right
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:49 a.m.

    The real question is NOT which schools should get government funds. It is whether there should be government funding of education at all!

    Let's look at the system we've degenerated to: In the name of making every person good, government steps in, forces money from citizens at the point of a gun (don't believe me, think what would happen if you refused to pay your taxes), and then selectively choses who gets and who doesn't get the stolen funds. Great system!

    Unfortunately, we've degenerated to a point where most don't even recognize freedom anymore--with its greater prosperity to both individuals and society, Instead we clamor for a cheap counterfeit.

    Publicly funded education--because it violates eternal principles of freedom--is doomed to perform poorly. Get used to it.

  • hmmm
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:46 a.m.

    Just how are they going to decide which 18 charter schools will be closed? Lowest performing on the CRT or U-PASS tests? Lowest enrollment? Highest percentage of enrollment below capacity? Last ones opened, first ones closed? Saturation of charter schools?

    Then what will be done with the buildings? Who exactly will own them? The State? They were purchased/built with State money. The Charter Founders? The Charter management companies? This one seems most likely if the Legislature is left to the decision making.

    OR is this just a scare tactic to make the charter school parents and legislators take action against and punish further the district schools instead of the charter schools? My money is on this scenario.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:40 a.m.

    Dear Ragnar,

    The Utah State Constitution guarantees K-12 education to all Utah residents. Change the Utah State Constitution and then your logic will work.

  • re: Best and cheapest.
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:36 a.m.

    As far as what is "forced to be taught" in district schools, it is the same as what is "forced to be taught" in charter schools. Both are PUBLIC SCHOOLS and must follow the State Core Curriculum. The only differences is some of the choices made in textbooks and programs used, both school systems must use State Office of Education approved texts and programs.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:30 a.m.

    How about the FACT that each Charter School student is receiving funding from the District that they left? This is a little advertised law that passed last Legislative Session. This was a way for the State, aka the Legislature, to say that they were funding the Charter Schools at a much lower amount then the District Schools, while requiring the Districts to make up part of the difference. The law is HB 2 from the 2009 General Legislative Session. For my school district this is costing almost $1 million dollars. Money that could have been spent on our district children, but instead is sent to the various Charter Schools to "equalize" funding.

    To those who are saying that Charters are not hiring Certified Teachers: unless the teachers are doing an Alternative to Licensure Program, they MUST be Certified in the subjects they teach. If the teachers are not Certified, the Charter School is in breech of their Charter Contract with the State Office of Education and in violation of Utah State Law. This applies to classroom teachers-not to the classroom aides.

  • To the "Down with Charter"
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:21 a.m.

    "Schools needs to take a stance & get ride of the trouble makers. Educations is not a right. but a prilage. Schools are not the baby sitters either."

    "Government at it's best."

    Thank you for illustrating the value of a public education. I think that your post, more than any other post here, clearly demonstrates the need for a charter option.

  • Real problem with public schools
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:21 a.m.

    Everyone keeps saying that we need to fix public schools... I think that everyone in the charter system agrees, that's why they ended up leaving.

    More money won't fix public schools, it's a problem in ideology. They need to change the way they think and act by getting more in line with what parents want instead of simply telling parents how it is going to be.

    How anyone could support a bureaucracy that is so wasteful and belligerent amazes me. The school districts don't care what you think; you pay taxes to them whether you like what they do or not. The changes that need to occur in public schools have nothing to do with funding.

  • Disillusioned
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:19 a.m.

    As a former public school UT special educator, I have SEEN Charters (and read about Charters in research) blatently discriminate (and discriminate in hidden ways) against those with significant disabilities. And SEGREGATE those with disabilities. Mainstreaming is not a 'better" option. I've experienced the charter school lie. Acceptance of students who ONLY have high level special needs (learning disabilities, asperger's, etc.) "special" schools only designed for "special" kids... None of it is research based. None of it is appropriate. And then, months later, after parents have pulled their child with special needs out of school, we would then get the student back in the non-charter school, 6 months more delayed because the supposed "better" educational "choice" actually was horrible.

    The day that every charter school has to actually accept EVERY child, provide free and reduced lunches, provide transportation to EVERY child, will be the day they stop lying and actually follow the laws that fund them! Until then, I think if parents can choose what public schools their kids go to, than I want to choose what public schools my tax dollars fund!!!!! P.S. Former charter school teachers agree with me!!

  • resident
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:18 a.m.

    stay away from Utah.. it's a freak show.. we pay for a private education - it is really the only option in this state.

  • to: Cut even more charter school
    Oct. 13, 2009 7:15 a.m.

    The sheer number of grammatical errors in your comments lead me to believe that perhaps you were not educated at a charter school like the one my children attend. Here are some things to work on in the future:

    "enough" is not spelled with a "t" at the end.
    "public" is not spelled with an "s" at the end.
    "use" in this context should be followed with a "d".
    "rich" should end with an "h", not a "k".
    When assigning ownership, it is customary to provide an apostrophe before the "s", as in "everyone's".
    In this context, the spelling should be "their", not "there".

    It appears that your idea of what a "public school can do" might be somewhat limited, because I don't think yours was very successful.

    Here's a question: what do you think the districts will do with all those children currently attending charter schools when they show up at their already overcrowded classrooms? Charter schools are not only doing more with less, they are providing relief for a public school system that cannot handle an unprecedented level of growth in many areas.

  • RE:"Cut even more"
    Oct. 13, 2009 6:37 a.m.

    Wow looks like you have a little pride stuffed inside that mind of yours. News flash to ALL ON THE MESSAGE BOARD, US SCHOOLS UNDERPERFORM on an international level. So do we "fix" the problem by improving public schools or do we try something different? I am all for trying something different and the non-traditional approach of charter schools seems to provide better RESULTS.

    I am sorry that you are so caught up in your own self loathing and hatred for the "rich" that you can't seem to figure that out. Another NEWS FLASH FOR YOU, charter schools in my area, Kaysville, select students by lottery. The lottery DOES NOT include my income. So how would they know who is "rich?"

    Again I would love to "improve" public schools but since you are the ONLY PERSON on here who is trying (laughter please) it looks like you aren't getting the job done. I will elect to put in for a charter school and see what happens, because I am so "rich" NOT!!!

    Some are blinded by their own self pity, they refuse to acknowledge the true problem, looks like we have one of those on here:)

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 13, 2009 6:34 a.m.

    Just this story alone could havfe an impact on the State getting ANY Race to the Top funds from the stimulus. Utah should be ashamed closing down what works and leaving open what does not. Make a more sensical approach.

  • Common sense?
    Oct. 13, 2009 6:16 a.m.

    If charter schools cost less and work better than public schools (as most objective studies indicate, never mind what the NEA says) then common sense would say that we should encourage more children to attend charter schools (save money AND educate more effectively). Instead, our legislature is planning to make cuts that will effectively kill off some of our charter schools and we will end up having to pay MORE to put those children back in public schools. I hope the legislature will see the error of their ways and find a better solution.

  • Nichol Draper
    Oct. 13, 2009 6:01 a.m.

    It is sad to read the comments here. Charter schools are public schools. They accept all students and are paid for out of taxes just like the other schools. The difference is that they have a board made up of parents of the children rather than a school board that is half the county and unresponsive to the children's needs. Maybe if there were more charter schools the comments here would be written by people who were better informed.

  • Ragnar
    Oct. 13, 2009 5:40 a.m.

    Dear "Disillusioned",

    There is no such thing as a "right to a good or service". When you site the Supreme Court to identify a right to a good or a service, education in this case, you reduce all rights to being things granted by government. The only "rights" are derived from the inalienable ones: life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness (including the ownership of property). With these rights an individual is free to pursue education or not as they see fit. They are not free to pursue it at their neighbor's expense. Yet this is the very system we are in now. A system of grab-what-you can rather than earn what you can.

    For any other readers who support government education but despise government healthcare, are you like "disilusioned" and believe that people have a RIGHT to education? If they do then surely you believe they have a right to their health too, don't you? Or do you put education above health?

  • Best and cheapest.
    Oct. 13, 2009 4:37 a.m.

    Once again the attack is on by the UEA to attack the most effective and cheapest education system in Utah. Charter schools are not the choice of the rich only and many low-middle income families are more interested in education than the costly political structure dominating Utah's public education system.

    Charter schools are educating students more effectively and cheaper than the public system riddled with corruption and waste at the highest levels. Education funds are diverted by billions of dollars a year to fund private development and investment rather than the class rooms where it is needed. That is where the per pupil money is going.

    Then the public system is riddled with illegals who pay no taxes yet they comprise 22% of the students in Utah. Teachers in public schools are forced to teach propaganda rather than knowledge. The federal level of government is dictating how and what is taught in schools in order to get federal funds. And what the federal level dictates is propaganda in schools, a mind control education system.

  • Hmm
    Oct. 13, 2009 1:38 a.m.

    I live out-of-state and had been considering a move to Utah for a job. Looks like my children's current school system is head-and-shoulders better funded than Utah's districts.

  • Monsieur le prof
    Oct. 13, 2009 1:19 a.m.

    Most public schools do a fantastic job of educating their students. The problem is less with the teachers than it is with the students. Teaching is the easy part. Trying to get spoiled kids to put away their ipods and cellphones and pay attention is the hard part. Those parents who take interest in their child's education will find that both public and charter schools do well, not because of the teachers necessarily, but because of the parents' involvement.
    Public schools have the burden of taking EVERY student thrown at them, some of whom may disrupt classes and cause problems for the teacher and the rest of the students.
    When comparing student achievement of students with the same socio-economic levels, studies show no difference between private, charter, and public schools.

  • Budget cuts for everyone
    Oct. 13, 2009 12:10 a.m.

    The Charter school experiment was underfunded from the get go. There was never enough money budgeted to adequately fund public schools let alone charters.

    Don't be crying now that charters have to endure the same budget cuts that public schools have endured year after year.

    Funding for education in Utah is a mess and charters are just another example of a legislature that doesn't care about our children.

  • working in a charter school
    Oct. 12, 2009 11:43 p.m.

    Have you worked in or have you had a child in a charter school? Each charter school is different, but the one in which I work succeeds. Our test scores are one of the highest in the state. We work with students with disabilities all the time. I work with students every day who have IEPs and we work very hard as teachers, administrators, and teacher assistants to make sure these children have a great education. We do not segregate any students for any reason. We do provide teaching areas that are required by student's educational plans that provide them with the best opportunity for learning. No one should judge a charter school without getting to know its charter and the teachers that work there. Charter schools came about because of parents' frustration with the system and districts that do not change their curriculum for the betterment of the child. Any child is welcome in our school. We accept students on a lottery system; charter schools must do this. Charters also save money because we do not need to support huge district salaries. If you wonder if charter schools do it better, go visit one.

  • (*) (*) (*)
    Oct. 12, 2009 11:37 p.m.

    Obliviously there are a lot of misinformed citizens on the issue of charter schools.

    Fact 1 - Charter schools are more economically efficient than public schools. If we've got money problems then we would be better off with more charter schools and less public schools.

    Fact 2 - Charter schools are publicly funded and statistically have many charter schools have more minorities and low-income families than most public schools.

    Fact 3 - Some of the standardized testing scores are lower at charter schools because some charter schools have exceptional special education programs and a disproportionate number of special-needs kids compared to the local public schools, an of course that does influence the school's scores.

    Fact 4 - Charter schools aren't taking anything away from the public schools. If they don't have the student then why should they get the money? Charter schools have helped to alleviate overcrowding in the public school system, and if they close their doors we are going have even more problems in the public school system.

  • Talk is Cheap
    Oct. 12, 2009 11:35 p.m.

    Until the numbers are published about how many IEP, economic disadvantaged and ELL students are in both school systems you cannot profess to say they are public schools. They nothing more than private schools with selective enrollment funded by public tax dollars.

  • brainwashed by public schools
    Oct. 12, 2009 11:25 p.m.

    As if having a teaching certificate guarantees a good education. Look at the public school system for that answer.

  • mom of five
    Oct. 12, 2009 11:04 p.m.

    Repeat after me: charter schools are public schools.

    The charter school I teach at was selected as one of America's Best High Schools in 2008 by U.S. News and World Report. We were one of only 13 high schools in the state to receive this honor. All of our teachers are licensed and most of us have master's degrees in our teaching area--a requirement to teach concurrent enrollment classes.

    We are also a PUBLIC school. We have a large population of free and reduced lunch and ELL students, and we have a special education teacher and students with IEPs just like any other public school.

  • to: "Fact 8:59"
    Oct. 12, 2009 11:00 p.m.

    It's not that it cost more in tuition, it's that it cost more in parent having to pay for transportation. It also cost more in the fact that most parents that are able to send there kids to charters can do it either because only one parent works, or they make enough that they can still afford to have someone pick up or take there kid to school every day.

    So yes it is mostly richer parents. So stop trying to say it isn't, or show me why most of the students would not be fee wiaver student as you have in public schools.

    Also for every fee wiaver student they don't have is a student they can get hundreds out off in fees. That the public schools can't.

    Again it comes down to those with money and those without.

    And they just don't have the some social aspects that a normal full public school does.

  • Charter Parent
    Oct. 12, 2009 10:51 p.m.

    I've got my oldest in charter high school this year. He's both gifted with learning disabilities, health problems and social issues (Asperger's). The charter has been wonderful for him - small classes, he's made friends, the teachers and the special ed. resource person have all bent over backwards to accommodate his IEP. He's learning, he's happy, he's well able to handle both the academic and social end of it. I hope and pray it's still there next year. I don't want him falling through the cracks at the huge local high school.

  • Charter school fan
    Oct. 12, 2009 10:41 p.m.

    As a matter of fact, yes! Our charter school has a large special education dept relative to school size. Last year, 1.5 special ed teachers, both certified as highly qualified, two full-time aides, part-time speech language pathologist and OT. This year, we have a full-time spec ed teacher, highly qualified certification, three full-time aides, and part-time speech person. We have 30+ kids on special ed plans (IEPs) out of about 240 kids, all are mainstreamed, including kids with autism, Aspergers, severe ADHD, etc. We have more spec ed kids per capita than nearby schools, perhaps because parents have more say about what happens and they know their kid will get a better education here than at the regular public school due to the supportive atmosphere and more opportunities for parent involvement. We get less $ from the stingy legislature than regular public schools but fundraising helps us close the gap and then some, allowing us to do some extras that don't happen at regular public school. Before you knock all charters, find out the truth.

  • Disillusioned
    Oct. 12, 2009 10:32 p.m.

    Remember a certain Supreme court case from the 1950's---one called "Brown vs. the Board of Education"? One where it was supposed to be FOREVER decided that "SEPARATE is NOT EQUAL"!!!

    The only thing "right" about the UT Charter school law is that those who choose to "separate" choose to not be equal. Charter schools are discriminatory to huge slots of people. Either they segregate those supposed "trouble makers" some of you stereotype into a "special" school, or they completely do not accept, nor provide appropriate services to students who have disabilities. They either segregate students in low SES areas, or minorities. The reality is that charters have been trying the last 2 years to make their numbers look better, by trying to persuade "minorities" to "choose" their schools.

    I live in a country where everyone has the RIGHT to an education (it is a RIGHT---as declared in that case stated above). We've fought for far too long and far too hard to "segregate" again now! Charter schools are NOT more successful. The numbers DO NOT show this! If parents are unhappy with their schools, then vote for new school boards, and push for administrative change!

  • As a public school teacher,
    Oct. 12, 2009 10:12 p.m.

    I find charter schools a great alternative to regular high school such as Tuacahn in St. George when students have aspirations different from University studies. Research does prove it takes 7 years to get a charter school where a public starts because teachers do NOT have to have a current teaching license. They have three years to get one. They also don't have to provide special services. While parents have input in a charter school, I GUARANTEE parents have voice in my school and my classroom. I don't why some parents feel they don't have a voice. I got plenty of voice when the President of the United States was addressing the school age children of America. So, I believe charter schools have their place.

  • Charters progressive
    Oct. 12, 2009 10:06 p.m.

    When in life does it make sense to put money in a failing system? The vast majority of parents idly stand by while the the traditional public schools drag our children down the drag. Fear tactics, disinformation and the downplaying of poor educational results for students is common. Powerful interests, partisan politics and large egos are involved. Let's choose students over political games and stop ignoring progressive alternatives to failure.

  • Ragnar
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:59 p.m.

    And so the fruitless debate goes on in another forum: education. The pretend debate is about HOW MUCH government should intervene rather than WHETHER the government should intervene. This is the nature of collective institutions: all degrades to a frenzied clamor of who should get the loot rather than a defense that every individual should keep what he earns.

    Here's a concept, what if government got out of the education business and let the free market handle it? What if parents and grandparents were free from property taxes and what if parents had to plan and pay for their own children's education rather than demanding that their neighbor be their biblical "keeper" and the keeper of their children? What if an entrepreneur could start his own school without worry about whether he'd be open next year due to a new tax on him or on his clients or due to the elimination of some government handout?

    What if government just protected our rights and left us free to reap the rewards and suffer the consequences of our own choices... even in education?

    Liberty. Neat concept.

  • Why charters?
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:50 p.m.

    I think what you are seeing is the end of charter schools. People don't want them in the state. The teaching methods are radical at best and syphon off the best and brightest students leaving the districts teaching all. Have you ever seen a charter school with a special education curriculum? Is there any inclusion in the classroom of those with moderate to severe developmental disabilites? I wonder about the private charter school corporation that has the structure for all these schools. Some of the comments here suggest it is a cash cow for those administrators and that some of these people are part of the legislature. I would sure like to know more about this. How much does these administrator/owners make? Is their salary published online like the public schools are? Our local charter has a brand new building that is tied into our district. I've been opposed to it since the beginning. I question their teaching methods and all I hear the students talk about is "self directed learning". They seem to be studying whatever they please. Do they have to follow the state curriculum? Pass tests? I'm concerned.

  • We need to go back to the way it
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:46 p.m.

    was when students would be held back if they didn’t pass their classes. Students can do nothing but move onto the next grade is crazy to me. I know about no child left behind which was good in theory but bad when it was put into play. Public education is no better or worst then charter schools or private schools. It depends on the teachers if they challenge their students. You get more one on one with charter schools which is great but you have a lot less classes offered to the students. Most of them try to run like a private school with uniforms and their policies. Most focus on different things like Spanish, theatre, math, or science. Anyone with a degree can teach at a private school. You do not have to have a teaching license like you do in public schools. The degree doesn’t make a teacher the hard work and dedication makes a good teacher. The teaching profession has lost a lot of good teachers due to the lack of pay while other jobs are now paying more.

  • jbm
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:45 p.m.

    Charter schools are a bad idea. We need to work on fixing our public schools and stop funding charter schools. The charter school in our area have no policies or procedures in place. They do what ever they want at families and teachers' expense. They let go of highly qualified teachers and hired teachers without a license just to save money. What kind of a school is that? What happened to NCLB? Let's improve what we already have and do away with the charter schools.

  • charter school mentor
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:41 p.m.

    re: cut even more.
    Charter schools aren't for rich kids. They're for every kid whose parents share common educational goals. They are public schools--public schools on a shoestring budget. The charter school I work at is awesome: awesome students, vision, goals, faculty, and curriculum. I am paid less than I would be at a public high, I have fewer benefits, and I have to commute over 40 miles each way for the privilege of working with some of the most amazing people, along with their parents, in the state. Since our budget is already thin, little cuts go much deeper comparatively.
    As far as the socio-economic picture of my students go--I have students across the spectrum of religion, race, and income: students eating peanut butter on homemade bread every day, and students given ten dollars to eat at Carl's Jr. every day; students from very large families, students who are only children, and students from broken homes; students from different countries and students who have never been out of Utah. Don't label them all rich kids. What do they have in common? They each are taking responsibility for his/her own education.

  • Anonymous
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:27 p.m.

    I keep hearing that Charter Schools do a better job for less.... Not true. Check the achievement test scores. Charter schools are trying to catch up, but so far their test scores are lower than traditional schools.

    To say otherwise is the big lie of Charter Schools.

  • Great
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:12 p.m.

    I have never liked the idea of charter schools. Get rid of them all and stop spending money building and maintaining all of these small buildings.

  • Charter schools for the rich?
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:10 p.m.

    The charter school where my children attend is a Title I school - meaning more than half of our student body is economically disadvantaged. The majority of our students come from families living near the poverty line. We are hardly a school for "the rich."

  • Down with Charter
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:07 p.m.

    If the people who can afford private school take their kids out of public school. . .what do you have left? Vouchers are a bad idea. Want better schools. . . make them better.

    Salt Lake City area wasts too much money on different districts. The ENTIRE Salt Lake county should be one district. With one comission. This would put almost a million dollars back into the school system.

    Schools needs to take a stance & get ride of the trouble makers. Educations is not a right. but a prilage. Schools are not the baby sitters either. Instead of charter school, have special schools for those that do not/will not do what they should be doing in the class rooms. Move the "bad students" out & put them in different schools. Then pay the teachers what they are worth. Don't do the work & you get left behind. No student left behind means move them out when they should not. Government at it's best. Can't get rid of them, promote them out.

  • jim
    Oct. 12, 2009 9:01 p.m.

    How is it that charter schools can do it for less? Is there waste in the system?

  • Fact
    Oct. 12, 2009 8:59 p.m.

    "Public schools have lots of problems, but it should be everyones job to help fix them. Not just those that could not afford to run away like the rich parents do with there kids."

    There is no tuition at a charter school, ANYONE can run away (as they rightly should) from public schools. If charter schools have such an advantage, as you are implying, why aren't you taking your children there?

    If you don't like them, don't use them. The fact is they cost LESS than public schools... for every student that goes to a charter, the taxing school district for that student gets partial funding anyway. They net result is that districts have an INCREASE in per pupil funding (overall) when a student in their district goes to a charter school.

    Still hate charters?

  • Relax People
    Oct. 12, 2009 8:55 p.m.

    Do you really think the pet darling of the Utah legislature (not to mention a cash cow for some legislators in the Charter building business) is going to be scaled back? NO WAY!

    Relax people. It's only October. President Obama, Arne Duncan and the 4.5 billion dollars they are putting into education (Charters heavily favored) from the stimulus will save Utah Charters.

  • RE: Cut even more
    Oct. 12, 2009 8:55 p.m.

    Charter schools ARE public schools - public schools of choice administered at the school level rather than the district level.

  • MS
    Oct. 12, 2009 8:53 p.m.

    If charter school can operate on less funding and do a much better job of education our children, then why not adopt the charter school format for all public schools. That just might fix the budget.
    Perhaps administrators need to be looked at, I'm sure there are a lot of cuts that can be done in that department. Utah ranks lowest in education spending anyway, so how low can we go?

  • Thank goodness
    Oct. 12, 2009 8:47 p.m.

    It's about time the legislature appropriately fund public schools before they continue to fund charter schools. Quit funding 2 separate programs -- focus on making one better! I'm happy to see this.

  • LM
    Oct. 12, 2009 8:39 p.m.

    Back to vouchers... Privatizing education will have the effect of spreading the performance gap perhaps even more than it is already spread in public schools--some excellent private schools will be formed, and some poor private schools formed. Still I'm in favor.


    Because poor teachers will be able to be cut, and poorly behaved students will be able to be removed, the system as a whole will rise. Students and teachers who need a wake up call, will get it.

    If we could redirect property taxes from a local appropriation to a state appropriation, then the state could offer significantly more than the $500 - 3000 voucher.

    Then cities can appropriate only what they need, and the state can hand out what the public schools need on a per pupil basis and can fund a voucher or tuition tax credit.

    In the end, the choice, uniforms, religion, etc. in private schools (who would hire many excellent public school teachers--and there are many excellent public school teachers!) will make more of a difference in helping students and families than the Godless public schools will that have to walk on glass around the issues and morality that can help America.

  • KC
    Oct. 12, 2009 8:12 p.m.

    Sooooo ... "no" to vouchers and now we're going to cut charter schools? Brilliant, Utah. Just brilliant.

  • re 7:38 p.m. Oct. 12, 2009
    Oct. 12, 2009 7:53 p.m.

    "Instead of spending more money on more different kinds of schools they should be working to make publics schools better for all."

    In theory you are absolutely right. All schools should be quality schools. Did you know however how stubborn administrations of school districts can be when their teaching methods are substandard, and parents try to get them to change?

    This is why charters are needed. In a charter school the parents are the school board.

    If a new idea comes around where phonix is no longer to be taught, a school district may adopt it and inspite of fierce parental pressure, it will take years for them to change their ways. Charter schools will do it in a matter of weeks, if the parents want legitimate change.

    Likewise with the fad of not teaching kids to do arithmetic or using calculators instead.

    I think the legislature is acting foolishly if they get rid of charters, the one bright spot in our educational system.

  • Don't Cut Charters
    Oct. 12, 2009 7:47 p.m.

    Charter schools started out life already cut. They do a better job of teaching, but with less money, they always have.

    Legislature, what kind of common sense is this, are you really going to cut charter schools?

  • Cut even more charter schools
    Oct. 12, 2009 7:38 p.m.

    I wish they would cut enought charter schools that they would all have to close.

    Instead of spending more money on more different kinds of schools they should be working to make publics schools better for all.

    Charter schools are just a way for rich parents to do what they want. They are so use to being able to buy anything they want they can't learn to work with everyone to build something better for all.

    Not one kid in any school picked to be rich or poor and should not be punished by the rick parents for being poor.

    Public schools have lots of problems, but it should be everyones job to help fix them. Not just those that could not afford to run away like the rich parents do with there kids.

    No charter school can ever do what a public school can do for a kid.

  • GET A CLUE - Legislature
    Oct. 12, 2009 7:37 p.m.

    Where is the common sense? Charter schools are the one schools which are responsive to parental input. If parents ask charters to improve math or reading education they do it, they don't argue or point to studies which show why learning times tables really isn't all that important.

    Legislature, GET A CLUE ...

    We need more charter schools, not less.

  • Westgate323
    Oct. 12, 2009 6:58 p.m.

    Another example of rewarding mediocrity and punishing success in the education of our children.
    "A third of our schools, which are performing extremely well, are going to get shut down."
    Administrators seem to fear the mass exodus of excellent performing student to the charter schools.
    This appears to be a unfair and vicious political strike from the enemies of charter schools. This move is oblivious to the very harmful effect on children and parents with little or no alternatives to poor performing traditional schools.
    If the State Office of Education was unaware of the hardship the current plan forecasted for charter schools, that is irresponsible at best. It will be a major point of discussion as the board "refines" the proposal.

    How would any reasonable person expect charters to react to major cuts positively, even after their success? Charters are not jumping to conclusions.
    What a sour way to "begin a conversation".I am grateful Obama is pro-charter school.

  • Conscience
    Oct. 12, 2009 6:44 p.m.

    Oh just watch. Mr. Killpack will save the day for Charter Schools of Utah. Let it be known, it will be pretty obvious since he works for a company that runs charter schools. Where is the transparency? All for ethics reform say, "Aye". The eyes have it!