[This is a continuation of a five part series on APS’s position on charter schools]
The record is clear – Superintendent Davis and the APS administration are absolutely hostile to charter schools and the approval of any new ones. I do not include the Board of Education as their record is mixed. However, the administration’s record is not – it is pure hostility at every turn.
As I reported last year, during the discussion on the expansion of Drew Charter School – which Superintendent Davis opposed – he said,
“There is no question that as a system, we have not worked well with the Charter Schools in our district. We have not supported them as well as we should and we have not learned from their strengths and their accomplishments.”
The answer is simple – APS is hostile to charter schools and has opposed them nearly every time. Look at their actions.
- Last year APS withheld $2.8 million in local revenue funding that was due to the charter schools. After a judicial hearing on the lawsuit filed by the charter schools, the judge ruled against APS. APS appealed and the appellate judge was just as skeptical of APS’s position. While the appeal ruling has not been issued yet, it is likely that the charter school’s position will be upheld and the payments will have to be made by APS.
- The withholding of funds from the charter schools had real consequences. As a result of the withholding of funds, Tech High School was unable to continue operating and folded. In addition to financial difficulties, Tech High School – that was ranked by US News & World Report as a “Best High School” – also had terrible facilities in which to operate. Did APS work with them and help Tech find better facilities in a system with significant overcapacity? The simple answer is no.
- Over the last year, at least seven new charter petitions have been submitted to the administration. Five have been denied outright, one has been deferred for additional information and Superintendent Davis is recommending that the seventh be denied.
As I said, hostility towards charter schools at every turn. When it comes to charter school petitions – the administration’s answer is a reflexive NO! Now what was the question again?