Imagine your house was robbed, and you called the police to report the incident. Yet, before the police step in to solve the case, you must pay a substantial fee for their help in recovering your stolen property. Sounds backwards, right?
Well, that’s the same logic at play in Gov. Tom Wolf’s latest “fee-for-service” proposal aimed at charter schools described in “Gov. Wolf announces new fees for Pennsylvania charter schools.”
Wolf wants charter schools to pay a fee to get funding issues resolved when a school district refuses to transfer the proper per-student funds to the family’s chosen school. In other words, charters are punished for school districts’ misbehavior.
That’s backwards and will hurt charter students by incentivizing districts to cut or dispute funding meant to follow a student to his or her school of choice. Instead, the governor should require that school districts pay for their own violation of state law.
Bleeding charter schools dry through fees and restricting students’ access to quality schools with red tape is politics at its worst. This sort of favoritism exacerbates the rivalry between schools that should be working together to educate our children.
The writer is a senior policy analyst with the Commonwealth Foundation.