In Oregon, some school districts are starting charter schools to meet special needs more efficiently. The Oregonian reports:
When Republican lawmakers tried to introduce charter schools to Oregon in the 1990s, they drew sharp resistance from public school leaders who saw charter schools as a drain on resources and competition for students. But as the movement has grown, some administrators have turned to charters to provide specialized programs. The prospect of up to $350,000 in federal charter planning and startup money for each school also helped.
Four charter schools that will open in Columbia County this fall illustrate the trend. Working with the Northwest Regional Education Service District, the Vernonia, Scappoose, Rainier and Clatskanie school districts decided to form two independent charters to attract home-schooled students and two small district-operated charter schools for students struggling in traditional high schools.
. . . Another public school consortium was responsible for the Center for Advanced Learning in east Multnomah County, which caters to students interested in engineering, health sciences or information technology careers. The school opened last year with the Reynolds, Gresham-Barlow, Centennial and Corbett school districts as owners-sponsors. Part of the districts’ motivation was to relieve crowding at high schools.
School districts profit when charters educate students, such as home-schoolers and prospective drop-outs, who’d otherwise not be eligible for public funding. The marginal cost of new students is lower than the cost of educating them.