Charters Making Out Like Bandits With Minor Capital Improvements Loophole!

Delaware State Representative John Kowalko requested information on how much Delaware charters are getting in minor capital improvement funding through Governor Markell’s proposed budget.  In the past three fiscal years, Delaware charters were allowed to receive $351,857 total from the state budget.  This year, Markell has an astonishing $1,587,310 allocated for charter school minor capital funding.  This is approximately four and a half times the average yearly amount.  Kowalko is not happy about this and asked to share this letter he wrote his colleagues in the 148th General Assembly.

Dear Colleagues,

Here is the amount of minor cap improvement money spent on Charter School facilities. This is out of a proposed $11 million in the Governor’s budget for MCI allotted for all public schools in Delaware including the many crumbling and outdated buildings in Wilmington and elsewhere.  It should not be necessary to point out to all of you that none of these charter school facilities are owned in whole or part by Delaware taxpayers and every dollar spent goes to enhancing the value of privately owned facilities. Not one penny will come back to the taxpayer if these buildings are sold or abandoned. This is an abuse of taxpayer monies and an abdication of our responsibilities to those taxpayers.

Representative John Kowalko
A voice of reason in an out of control charter friendly General Assembly!
And here are the amount each charter will get.  Of course, this is subject to the approval of the General Assembly when they pass the budget.

CharterMinorCapFundingPt1

CharterMinorCapFundingPt2

Yeah, I wasn’t too happy when I saw this either.  So aside from this surplus funding which was not part of the original charter school law but got added in to House Bill 165 in 2013, charters also get funds from the charter school performance fund, the charter school transportation slush fund, and many donations from places like the Longwood Foundation, Rodel, and The Welfare Foundation along with others.  When will the madness stop?  Kendall Massett spoke at the House Education Committee meeting last week to speak against House Bill 231, sponsored by State Rep. Sean Matthews.  His bill would require charters to have all teachers as part of the state retirement fund.  Massett spoke against it stating that the original charter school bill allowed charters to have extra flexibility from state bureaucracy.  But apparently when it benefits the charters, they don’t speak out against that…

10 thoughts on “Charters Making Out Like Bandits With Minor Capital Improvements Loophole!

  1. How about making all of the charter schools part of a teachers union so that they stop screwing their staff members with low pay, longer hours less sick days than the traditional district teachers.

    My niece left a charter school because of these issues. She was paid much less than the surrounding district, she had to work more hours than other state teachers. (37.5/week for state teachers, her charter was 40, but only paid for 37.5) And they took 3 sick days away from the 10 month staff. Even thought the state code states that 10 month employees get 10 days, 11 month employees get 11 day and 12 month employees get 12 days.

    These charters are out of control. The leaders are bullying staff and they have no recourse in fear of being terminated or simply not having their contract renewed.

    She still has a lot of friends at her old charter school, and they still go to work daily in fear. Charter school leaders and their bullshit self appointed board members let power go to their heads. It’s pathetic.

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  2. Confused by this part…

    “It should not be necessary to point out to all of you that none of these charter school facilities are owned in whole or part by Delaware taxpayers and every dollar spent goes to enhancing the value of privately owned facilities.”

    Pretty sure Charter School of Wilmington’s building is owned by Red Clay. Not sure if other charters have this arrangement.

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  3. Alright Avi, point taken, now riddle me this: why are we giving $261,000 taxpayer dollars to Newark Charter for MCI when they just built a new High School that is not owned in any part by the DE. taxpayers in addition to their not very old k-8 school and in addition to the hundreds of thousands of dollars in unused transportation money they abscond with each and every year? How about calculating the percentage amount charters receive per building compared to the hundreds of traditional school buildings that are in dire need of repair, upgrades and replacement. A little honest objectivity goes a long way in the real world.

    Representative John Kowalko

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  4. Avi,
    My apologies for the harsh tone but it gets pretty darn frustrating watching these millions of dollars directed to entities that are nothing more than publicly funded private schools while this Governor strips resources from struggling schools and districts.
    John Kowalko

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