It was a bad omen for the Free State when the Old Man of the Mountain fell off, but this is even worse: New Hampshire's very first charter school, Franklin Career Academy, is closing for want of state funding. The state commissioner of education, Lyonel Tracy, explained that there was nothing wrong with the school: "The students were doing well. There was a good response from the parents and good results from the students." The culprits: the Franklin and Winnisquam school boards and the Franklin city council, all of which refused to pass along the (miserly) state per-pupil funding to the charter school. That's right: they just refused to pay. Tracy again: "The whole Franklin charter school situation was one marked by adult entanglement and ideological turf wars." Indeed. But this leaves Gadfly scratching his little bug head; why wasn't the Commish able to force the districts to play ball? And what is the charter school movement going to do about this blatant transgression? In the meantime, look for Fordham's upcoming study of charter funding (which won't include New Hampshire—we only examine states that are serious about charter schools) which will expose a host of fiscal shenanigans and policy shortcomings that punish charters from coast to coast.
"Charter schools minus one in New Hampshire," by Kathleen Bailey, Portsmouth Herald, July 17, 2005