New school could drain $7 million a year from county coffers
Rutherford County is facing a serious budget crisis that could lead to a tax increase and the local school board just voted to exacerbate the problem.
The budget deficit and potential tax increase comes as the Rutherford County School Board voted 5-2 to approve an application for a charter school affiliated with Michigan-based Hillsdale College.
At least one of the School Board members in favor of the new charter, Caleb Tidwell, was backed by County Mayor Joe Carr in his campaign.
An analysis of the fiscal impact of the Hillsdale charter in Rutherford County reveals a first-year taxpayer cost of $3.4 million and a cost at full enrollment of $7 million.
Two key takeaways here:
- The Rutherford County School Board has committed the district and county taxpayers to an ongoing, recurring expense of $7 million to fund a right-wing charter school that offers dubious educational value.
- American Classical Academy could use the approval in Rutherford to bolster appeals to the State Charter Commission in the four other districts.
This is all part of a larger move to build a network of Hillsdale charter schools in the state that could ultimately cost local taxpayers as much as $350 million a year.
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If the Hillsdale schools are so good, then the parents who want them should be willing to fund them. These are not public schools. To find them we either have to take money away from existing public schools or increase taxes on the rest of us for schools we simply do not need.