Yesterday we reviewed the problematic curriculum of VFCA. Today we'll cover the financial issues found in the budget.
There are lot of expenses that go into starting and running a new school. This budget lacks many expected line items, such as safety training for teachers and costs associated with retrofitting an existing office building into a safe school for children to attend. It uses assumptions other than the ones stated in the charter school application for tuition rates and number of students projected. The numbers just don’t work.
The budgets for teacher salaries, retirement plan contributions and continuing education are embarrassingly low in comparison to other local districts, meanwhile administrative salaries are high. There is a $36 million excess budget over the next five years, but teacher salaries stay level or decline. VFCA plans to hire only non-union teachers, but it will be tough to find teachers that want to work so hard for so little with no union support.
Most people think that charter schools don’t affect the local school district financially - the money follows the student. This is not completely true. We calculated what is called “stranded funds”, or the total loss to the districts over the next 5 years that cannot be recouped. If WCASD allows this charter school to operate, WCASD and surrounding districts will have a loss of $34 million with children receiving an education that discourages science, observes math through a religious lens and whitewashes history. Children who come back to district schools will need to be brought up to district standards at the district’s expense.
To learn more about the impact of charter schools on their local districts, please reference the full RFA Report.
The best way to have your voice heard on the VFCA Charter School is to come to the hearing tomorrow, 6/14 at Fugett Middle School at 6pm. WCASD residents and taxpayers who arrive before 6PM and register will be permitted to make a comment of up to 3 minutes. The time to be heard is now, as the Charter Appeal Board will only consider public comment given at the hearing.