Would expanding charter schools take funding away from traditional public schools?

Roughly 32,000 children are on a waitlist to get into a charter school

BOSTON (WWLP) – Roughly 32,000 children are on a waitlist to get into a charter school in Massachusetts.

This November, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to lift the cap on charter schools. Funding is at the center of this debate. The teachers union argues that expanding charters will take funding away from traditional public schools. Governor Charlie Baker, a vocal supporter of expansion, disagrees.

He told 22News, “Charter schools do not drain money from traditional schools and in fact, the funding model is the exactly the same funding model that we’ve used for a hundred years to fund vocational and technical schools and agricultural schools. Dollar follows kid.”

A “YES” vote would pave the way for up to a dozen new charter schools in Massachusetts each year with a focus on under-performing school districts like Springfield and Holyoke. A “NO” vote would keep the law the way it is now.

More than one-hundred state lawmakers have vowed to vote against charter school expansion, including Chicopee state Representative Joe Wagner. He told 22News traditional public schools are already underfunded and education costs are rising.

“You’ve got to recognize that leaves less money for the under-performing school or district, so I’m just not sure that that’s a thoughtful way of going about it,” said Rep. Wagner.

Governor Baker added that Ballot Question 2 is about giving parents more than one choice of education for their children.