We all know that charter schools are privately operated schools that get a share of district funds but operate free of many of the rules governing traditional public schools. The district funds they receive eat into already scare district resources, undermining their ability to provide adequate educational services at their remaining schools.
What is less well known is that in California and many other states, districts are required to give charters more per student than they actually get in state revenue per student. In California, districts must spend $941 more per charter student than they receive from the state.
The Mt. Diablo school district, east of Oakland, estimates that this will cost it anywhere from $1.8 to $4.2 million per year if only one of its high schools, Clayton Valley, converts to a charter, the Contra Costa Times reported this week. If it is forced to accept the Clayton Valley charter, the district would have to cut at least $4.3 million from its budget for next year and dip into its strategic reserve. This would come at great harm to the majority of its students and teachers who will remain in its other schools.