During the last Octorara Area School District Board meeting, William Kloss (Atglen) made an impassioned speech regarding charter schools. There were some blanket statements made about, what he believed, are problem with charters, and wanted the school board to work toward eliminating them as a drain on our budget. Mr Kloss only specifically mentioned Avon Grove CS (at least as far as I recall and made note of). I am going to break down his assertions using AGCS as an example.
It was believed:
- Charter schools can hand pick the students they want to enroll
False: The Avon Grove Charter School is a public charter school, and as such, can accept applications from any student in the state of Pennsylvania. However the school can only call upon its “feeder” districts to transport within a 10 mile “bubble.” (link)
- Octorara must meet the needs of every student in the District, no matter how severe or extensive that need is
Charter schools are not exempt from Federal Special Education Laws and Regulations. (link)
- Charter schools do not share their hiring requirements of teachers
False: Currently, AGSG is hiring a High School Mathematics Teacher. The requirements include all candidates to be “Highly Qualified” as defined by No Child Left Behind. (link)
- Charter schools don’t disclose their financials
False: Avon Grove Charter School’s proposed 2013-14 budget is on their website. (link)
- Because charter schools can choose their students they can skew test scores
False: Avon Grove Carter School does not pick and choose. Students are enrolled based on a lottery system. (link)
- They are using our tax dollars & should be held accountable to the taxpayers
Charter schools are accountable for student achievement. The rules and structure of charter schools authorizes it to function once it has received a charter, a statutorily defined performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, methods of assessment, and ways to measure success. (link)
- Charters are for-profit companies
Avon Grove Charter School is organized as a Non-Profit Organization. While some charters are run by for-profit companies, not all are.
I hope no one perceives this as an attack on Mr Kloss. He is mention because he spoke during a public meeting, but I am sure many share his misconceptions.