The Utah Association of Public Charter Schools (UAPCS) called on Utah’s congressional delegation, Governor Cox, legislative leaders, the State Board of Education and the State Charter School Board to support federal education funding for all public schools. That stance should be obvious, but this week House Democrats are scheduled to approve the FY 22 appropriations bill for “the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education.” It currently contains language that would prevent any federal money from going to “a charter school that contracts with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school” (see section 314 on page 165).
Likely every public school (district and charter) in America has at least one contract (most have MANY contracts with private companies) to “operate, oversee or manage” some part of the school. Public schools contract with for-profit companies for necessary, but ancillary services – banking, architecture, lawn mowing, legal, janitorial, bussing, etc. – so the school itself can focus on its core mission: teaching students.
Because most charter schools have fewer than 1,000 students, charter schools often use private companies to provide back end and other management services like accounting, HR, legal, etc. They use the same procurement processes as public entities, and save taxpayers millions upon millions of dollars every year.
UAPCS executive director Royce Van Tassell said, “Utah’s charter schools educate more than 80,000 students – 12 % of the students in Utah’s public schools. Many of them are on the autism spectrum or have other learning disabilities. Many live in poverty. The federal government gives public schools money precisely to serve these neediest students.”
Van Tassell concluded, “It beggars the imagination that congressional Democrats care more about scoring political points with a special interest than about making sure the neediest children get the services they need. The question isn’t, charter schools vs. district schools? The question is, how can each child get the best education possible? Congressional Democrats need to stop this political silliness.”