Southwest Charter School has been working all year to bring equitable public funding to charter schools through legislative advocacy. As you know, charter school students receive about 58 cents on the dollar in state funding as compared to students in traditional public schools. Senate Bill 819 (SB 819) was introduced in this legislative session to right that inequity in funding.
SB 819 is still in the mix, and we’re getting down to the wire as the legislative session nears an end. The decision about whether SB 819 moves forward is in the hands of a very small group of people, including Representative Tina Kotek (District 44, N/NE Portland). She is not necessarily opposed to it, by any means, she’s just extremely busy, and we want to be the squeakiest wheel (certainly squeakier than the bill’s opponents)!
Potential messages (please use your own words!):
I am NAME, my child(ren) is/are student(s) at XXX public charter school in CITY.
I’m writing to ask for for your support of SB 819. Children in public charter schools receive less than 60% of the public funds that children in district-run schools receive. This inequity needs to be fixed.
SB 819 would require our sponsor district to pass through 95% of the state, federal and local funds it already receives on a per-pupil basis, onto kids in charter schools, and would give us access to the state transportation reimbursement. Our district would retain at least 5% to support its charter oversight, which is a typical administrative rate in K-12.
SB 819 does not require ANY new revenue, except the $50k “study” to determine what services districts provide to the charters they sponsor.
SB 819 would shift less than 1% of PPS’ budget annually, and less than 1% of the state’s overall K-12 budget, shift public funds to support our students proportionate to our enrollment.
Charter schools have all the same rules and regulations as district-run schools, we must provide all of our own “central office” services, we are expected to produce the same student outcomes, and yet we have only 60% of the public funding. It is not right.
This is simply an issue of equity. Our kids, in public charter schools, are AS valuable as kids in district-run public schools.