Charter School Grants

The Kansas State Department of Education has started to disburse grants for charter schools. The amount is modest, $32,000, but it’s already raising hackles among those who would close off change and limit the provision of education to local school districts.

“I have not been able to find any connection between these people (who received grants) and a school district,” said board member Sue Gamble, a Republican from Shawnee. She noted that some of the grant recipients were from out of state.

And the point is what, exactly? We certainly hope that the recipients of the grants use the money wisely. If they happen to live out of state, that shouldn’t be a problem, as long as children in the state benefit from the funds. It looks like the money, less than $2,000 per recipient, will be used to those who will advise others who want to start a charter school. If anything’s wrong with the funding, it might be that $2,000 won’t buy much. It’s more of a symbolic gesture than anything–but a gesture that disturbs the notion of “please move on, there’s nothing to see here” with the status quo.

As for the lack of a connection with a local school district, again, we fail to see a cause for alarm. Oversight occurs with the spending of public money, but that can happen at many different levels, not just at a local school board.

Opponents said it was a nonstarter to allow a charter school that is at odds with the local school district.

In other words, the needs of the school board are paramount. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of local governance.

Let us repeat again: charter schools don’t drain students from public schools. They ARE public schools.

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