SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – On November 8th, ballot Question 2 will decide the future of charter schools, and for the first time, it’s in the voter’s hands. 22News discovered a “Yes” vote could provide more options for where to send your kids to school.
A “Yes” vote on Question 2 supports increased charter school enrollment or the opening of 12 new charter schools. Governor Charlie Baker supports charter school expansion, saying they can tailor the curriculum to the school’s mission. The state is capped at 120 charter schools; currently, there are 78.
Right now, there are about 40,000 students across the state attending charter schools, roughly 4%. The other 96% of students attend traditional public or private schools. If the state does vote yes to lift the cap on the number of kids at charter schools, priority will be given to under-performing school districts, meaning here in Springfield, and also in Holyoke.
Charter schools are public schools that are privately run, they have their own school board, and use public taxpayer funding.
Some voters worry a “Yes” vote takes money away from public schools, but Springfield Charter School head Bill Spirer says the cost of each student goes wherever that student goes. “A student goes from one public school district to another public school district, the charter school, and the funding follows that student,” said Spirer. “The district receives less, but the district isn’t educating that student anymore.”
Spirer said public school districts are reimbursed 225% over 6 years when this happens. Each student, depending on what school district they’re in, are worth about $10,000 – $17,000 annually.
More than 33,000 kids are on charter school wait lists. 4,000 are in Springfield: the 2nd most needed city in the state.
If passed, the law takes effect in January.