KIPP Houston has made great strides installing new systems and processes to keep up with their growth, but one area where the organization was still feeling the pain of a manual approach was procurement — which KIPP Houston defines as everything from selecting goods and services, negotiating prices, establishing compliant contracts, submitting purchase orders for approval, and ultimately making payment. Over the last 18 months, KIPP Houston has made a push to transition from a manual, paper-based procurement process to a digital “procure-to-pay” solution.
The percentage of charter schools represented by a teachers union decreased slightly over the past seven years, according to data released in a report that also found more than 60 percent of unionized charters are located in just four states.
Charter management organizations, which operate publicly-funded schools, are making million-dollar investments on data teams and shaking up staffing norms in the process. Schools are hiring for these positions with hopes that the data they collect from online educational tools will inform decisions about classroom instruction, staff development, operational efficacy, funding, community engagement—and almost any other question public school stakeholders care to ask. Yet how these data teams and systems are built and funded vary significantly.
To explore this possibility, we studied retirement plans and surveyed charter schools in five states with such flexibility: Arizona, California, Florida, Louisiana, and Michigan. We find a growing number of schools, especially those run by management organizations, are choosing to opt out of state pension plans. In lieu of standard plans, charters are providing various, more portable defined-contribution options and incentives such as 401(k) and 403(b) plans, potentially providing a new way to ensure that teachers’ retirements are secure. In interviews, charter operators detail their reasons for these choices, providing important context to a retirement challenge that is unlikely to be resolved without significant action.
Labor groups representing educators at the city’s traditionally run public schools and privately operated charters are set to merge, following a vote by Chicago Teachers Union members. CTU leaders late Monday said results showed that a merger won favor with 70 percent of the 16,206 ballots cast.
In a handful of cities, charter schools now enroll more students than traditional district schools. But since 2013, that growth rate has dropped sharply and some of the possible culprits are familiar: high real estate costs, teacher shortages, and politics.
“For evaluating the social value of charter schools, a more complete analysis of benefits and costs would be required,” Ladd and Singleton write. “That analysis would have to include any benefits from charter school expansion through greater choice for parents and children, as well as any additional costs in the form of, for example, greater racial or economic isolation.”
In our recent blog post, “How Districts Can Afford Quality Schools Despite Enrollment Decline,” Afton recognized the financial challenges of school districts facing enrollment decline with or without charter school growth, and provided actionable recommendations to balance finances effectively and align it with academic outcomes.
The awards are the first since the Legislature agreed last year to set aside $100 million to help privately run charter schools borrow money at lower interest rates. The state is effectively guaranteeing that lenders will not miss payments.
Senate Bill 1480, which would allocate an additional $3 billion of the Permanent School Fund to back charter school bonds, passed the Senate Monday, with four Republicans voting against the measure. The $30 billion Permanent School Fund, the largest education endowment in the country, guarantees bonds from traditional school districts and charter schools, allowing them to borrow money for construction at lower interest rates.
Newark schools superintendent: The argument that charters are taking resources from public schools is also misleading. When a student opts to attend a public charter school, it is only reasonable that the revenues associated with that student go with him or her. But it is also fair that adequate funding remain with the district to cover its fixed and legacy costs. In Newark, I have worked hard to ensure that the district retains funding to cover those costs.