Talk about a turnabout, this year the legislature is giving $55 million in school maintenance funding to charter schools.
And of course, zippo to any of the 67 public school districts around the state.
Is it fair?
No, but then reverse the question and ask if it was fair for the legislature to ignore funding for charters in the past ten years.
The answer there, too is no.
When I was a Board member, the city of Pembroke Pines was gearing up to sue the Broward school district for a share of maintenance money.
That lawsuit was filed in 2007.
In that suit, Pines demanded a share of the district’s property tax revenue that is specifically geared toward facilities maintenance.
The Pines lawsuit alleged that the School Board treated charter schools differently from traditional public schools by refusing to pass on property tax revenue collected for school construction and maintenance.
It was absolutely true, but not a violation of existing laws or policies at the time.
But then, public school districts treated their charter schools like bastard children, dealing with them because they were forced on school districts by the legislature.
The truth is; when it came to those valued maintenance funds nobody noticed. Well, other than those of us in the mix, of course.
It does appear that through this year’s legislative “backwash” it was the same in the other 66 school districts as well.
The difference is that this time, everybody’s noticing.
It all goes to beg the question; “Is turnabout fair play?”
The answer is “no.” The legislature should not be treating any schools funded with public money differently.
As I wrote earlier, the shoe’s on the other foot.