Report: Charter Schools an Expensive Proposition for MNPS

A report by a third-party group commissioned by the MNPS School Board finds that the rapid growth of charter schools in Nashville is having a negative financial impact on the district.

The report, prepared by MGT of America, notes:

“… it is clear that charter schools impose a cost on MNPS – both directly and indirectly.  It is also clear … that the loss of operating funds caused by the transfer of revenue cannot likely be made up through a reduction in capital or facility costs.  Therefore, approving future charter schools does potentially meet the “bar” described in  Tennessee Code Annotated 49-13-108(b) which encourages local boards of education to consider fiscal impact in determining whether new charter schools may be “contrary to the best interest of the pupils, school district or community.”  From this analysis, new charter schools will, with nearly 100 percent certainty, have a negative fiscal impact on MNPS:    

They will continue to cause the transfer of state and local per student funds without reducing operational costs. 

They will continue to increase direct and indirect costs. 

They will continue to negatively impact deferred maintenance at leased buildings. 

They may have an offsetting impact on capital costs, if they open in areas of need for increased capacity.

The report confirms what some have suspected: Continued growth of charter schools presents higher costs to the district than operating without such growth.”

That’s not to say that the report suggest MNPS should not approve future charter schools. The report makes recommendations for handling future growth of charter schools, including encouraging such growth in areas of the school system experiencing rapid student growth. The Board adopted just such a proposal earlier this year.

The recommendations for managing future growth include: Developing a process to identify and quantify indirect costs to MNPS, such as support services; establishing a separate fund to better account for direct and indirect costs; levying depreciation charges to charter operators leasing MNPS facilities; and identifying areas of the school district where charter school growth would help offset the need for MNPS capital growth and expenditures.

The study is likely to shape future discussions at the Board level about what direction future charter growth will take.

For more on education policy and politics in Tennessee, follow @TNEdReport

4 thoughts on “Report: Charter Schools an Expensive Proposition for MNPS

  1. The financial impact of Charters is something those of us that DO NOT support Charters have been talking about for years but of course no one ever listens until it is too late. This illustrates what a poor job TN has done in weighing and projecting the financial benefit or cost of these initiatives they take on. It appears as if they just jump into these feel good programs to garner votes and give no real consideration for the ramifications down the road. Maybe the hope is they will be out of office before the SHTF. But the cost is just a small part of why Charters are BAD. They will eventually undermine traditional public education, eliminate elected school boards (which will do just the opposite as promised…… choice, no voice and no power to do anything about it), they DO NOT deliver better education (they are required to implement Common Core), the fact that I pay taxes to support the Charter I have no voice or say in how they spend my money or run their school (that is taxation without representation). Bottom line Charters are all about MONEY and not our children. When Charters truly take root in America you will see Gates, Broad, Walton etc swoop in for the kill. They will finally own education. People wake up and start to look at the negative impact of Charters. We need to STOP them not expand them. Do some research on the subject. Even proponents of Charters now see the error of their belief. This will result in the privatization of education (for profit education, schools run like a business, TRAINING CENTERS) My mother always told me and I live by this: If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!! Follow that and we will never get snookered again. STOP CHARTERS IN TENNESSEE NOW. Lets start with Memphis before it is too late. If you want to fix education for the poor……….work with their parents. Parents are the key to their success not money and not Charter Schools.

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