Cash only

Maryland has taken a profound and laudable step. At least the judiciary has. The state's Court of Appeals ruled, in a 7-2 decision, that charter schools should receive as much money per pupil as regular public schools. Whereas Maryland's charter schools used to receive cash and district-provided services (like school lunches), they can now demand cash in lieu of services--i.e., money follows the students, in full. That's important, because many of the state's charter schools claim they were being seriously overcharged for obligatory services. The numbers would seem to back up their assertion. Last year, for example, Baltimore budgeted $13,000 per public school student, but the city's charter schools received a paltry $5,859 in cash--which means the district spent over $7,000 per pupil in services, which is inefficient at best, and a lie at worst. Money should follow the child (see here and here). It's simply equitable.

"Charter school ruling could cost city millions," by Sara Neufeld, Baltimore Sun, July 31, 2007

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