Parents push to save Baltimore charter schools

Posted at 7:39 AM, Sep 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-22 07:39:48-04

People who run charter schools and the parents of the kids who attend them, say a proposal by the city school board puts the future of their schools in jeopardy.

Charter schools are public, but unlike most of the public school system they operate without too much direction from city school headquarters.

Earlier this month, the system released its plan for funding traditional and charter schools for next school year.

Bobbi MacDonald is the head of the foundation that runs “City Neighbors,” which has 800 kindergarten through 12-grade students in three buildings.  She says the formula would leave it $1-point-5 million short of its budget for next year.  A deficit so large, she says, the school would have to close for good.

City neighbors and several other charter schools have filed a lawsuit against the school system.

“What we want is just for the, like any public school in the city we want the proper amount to be spent on behalf of the children in the public schools. Whether it's charter or traditional. And right now that's not what happening for any school,” MacDonald said.

In a statement, city schools CEO Gregory Thorton writes:  “We must allocate our resources equitably and in accordance with state and federal law to meet the needs of all students, whether they attend charter or non-charter schools."

At Monday night’s City Council meeting, a resolution passed -- unanimously -- calling on the school board and the CEO to re-visit their plan.

The school board meets Tuesday night; the funding formula is not on the agenda but charter school parents are expected to attend that meeting.

There is a public hearing on the charter school funding set for this Saturday at 9 AM, at MERVO High School.