Everyone knows that the Oakland school district has a big old state debt to pay, to the tune of $6 million per year. Depending on how you crunch the numbers, that comes down to about $150 per student.
All of Oakland’s regular district schools pay such a fee – and, in fact, so do about nine of the city’s 32 charter schools as part of an extended lease agreement with OUSD, said Douglas MacLean, communications director for Assembly member Sandre Swanson.
Swanson – who has tried to check Oakland’s charter school growth in the past –authored a bill, AB 980, that would require all charter schools in Oakland and other state-run districts to cough up what he calls “their fair share” of the loan repayment. This bill made it out of the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee yesterday on a straight party line vote. It heads to the Assembly next.
As it stands, MacLean argues, each Oakland student shoulders a greater and greater portion of these payments as overall enrollment declines. “Right now, if you go to a regular public school, you are penalized,” he said.
But what about the local parcel tax money that the school board didn’t want to share with charters? And the fee that Jack O’Connell is assessing OUSD anyway? Can OUSD (or charters, for that matter) have it both ways?
In case you’re curious, MacLean gave me the following list of charter schools that are already helping to repay the loan, based on either enrollment or square footage: KIPP Bridge; three charters run by Education for Change — Cox Academy, World Academy and Achieve Academy — Leadership Public Schools-College Park; Bay Area Technology School (BayTech); Oakland Military Institute; Berkley Maynard and California College Prep Academy.
image from walknboston’s photostream at flickr.com/creativecommons