A s the “No on 2” campaign to stop a broad expansion of charter schools moves
into its final stretch, it is important to
understand the impact that the current
number of charter schools already has
on district public schools.
It is just as important to share
information with others about the
$450 million that is being diverted
this year to privately operated charter
The Department of Elementary
and Secondary Education’s funding
data show the costs that communities
bear when they pay tuition to charter
schools. Even when reimbursement
from the state to sending districts is
taken into account, communities of
all types and from all parts of the state
lose significant school funding.
An interactive map on the MTA
website — posted at massteacher.org/
chartermap — allows MTA members
and others to pinpoint school districts
to see how much they are losing to
charters this year alone.
Checking figures for communities
where you live, work and may be
canvassing will help you make the
argument with voters that Question 2 is
bad for public schools.
Question 2 would entirely lift
the cap on charters, allowing 12 new
ones each year forever anywhere in
the state. If the ballot initiative passes,
losses to districts across Massachusetts
could rise to $1 billion within six
As the map makes clear, charter
schools drain funds from numerous
districts and all types of traditional
Along the South Coast and on
Cape Cod, the annual numbers are
staggering: New Bedford loses more
than $10 million, while Fall River is
out $12.5 million. Charter schools
draw $2.7 million from Barnstable,
$1.4 million from Bourne and $2.7
million from Sandwich.
To the north, charter schools pull
almost $2.6 million from Billerica
and nearly $2 million from Dracut.
Moving west, Springfield schools lose
close to $36 million to charter schools,
while Worcester contends with a $22.4
million outlay to charter operators.
In the Berkshires, charter schools
hit large and small districts alike.
Pittsfield loses $2.1 million, and the
rural Adams-Cheshire Regional School
District spends more than $900,000 on
charter school tuition.
The figures available on the map
disprove the opposition’s claim that
charter schools do not drain money
from public schools.
The Foundation Budget Review
Commission found last year that the
way the state calculates a district’s
foundation budget — the starting
point in Massachusetts K- 12 school
financing — understates the cost of
educating students to the tune of at
least $1 billion per year.
Budget losses to charter schools
exacerbate an already troubling
problem, which is why more than
165 elected school committees across
the Commonwealth have passed
resolutions opposing Question 2.
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