Special ed skim

California school districts are skimming special education funding owed to charter schools, says a Reason Foundation report. Los Angeles Unified is particularly difficult to deal with

“Not only does the district take as much as 37 percent from us, but they provide zero services in return,” said Yvonne Chan, principal at Vaughn Next Century Learning Center in Pacoima. “Charter schools should receive funds directly from the state instead of flowing through the sponsoring district which withholds a large sum for encroachment and refuses to provide services.”

Charter principals complain there’s no accountability: LA Unified doesn’t explain what services it’s providing in exchange for its 37 percent cut.

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  1. Wow, that’s a huge number and a real fraud on the tax payer who may think all that money is actually going to the charter school.

  2. I’m shocked, yes, SHOCKED, to find a school district abusing the special ed system! Next you’ll be telling me they classify kids as LD just to get the money :-0

  3. Hunter McDaniel says:

    As former treasurer of a Colorado charter school, I have some familiarity with these kinds of issues. From my reading of the article, the main problem in this case is transparency and accountability for the fraction of money withheld. Note that the “37%” is the fraction of categorical special ed funding being withheld. That’s not peanuts, but from the headline one might think it was a fraction of the school’s total funding.

    There are real problems with special ed from both a school district’s perspective and that of a charter school. Our charter felt like we were subsidizing a wasteful model, since our district had per-pupil expenses which were double the state average. We had to worry about special-ed providers from the district who might conflict with our educational philosophy. The school district, OTOH, didn’t want us to reap a windfall from having a less-needy population (although the difference in our population and the district as a whole was much less than they claimed). And the burden of truly exceptional cases, such as residential treatment programs, really does need to be shared.

    And the problems of my charter were as nothing compared to another Colorado charter, a school for the deaf who were 100% special ed.

  4. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “OTOH” Is that the kind of thing that draws criticism when a black poet does it?

  5. Hunter McDaniel says:

    Sorry for the slang, OTOH = On The Other Hand

  6. What is the 37% for? Administrative costs of distributing the funds of course. Geez, anybody can figure that out.

    I’m sure if anybody inquires about those funds, it will cost another 37% to find the answer too.

  7. Mark Odell says:

    LA Unified doesn’t explain what services it’s providing in exchange for its 37 percent cut.

    {Luigi Vercotti}
    “You’ve got a nice charter school here, Ms. Chan. It would be a shame if anything were to happen to it. Things break, don’t they?”
    {/Luigi Vercotti}