Senators Dennis Rodriguez, Joe San Agustin, Telena Nelson, Tommy Morrison, and Fernando Esteves introduced Bill 70-34, which would turn Simon Sanchez into a privately-run charter school. This action receives a failing grade by GFT for the following reasons:
Takes away the rights of the community. The current Charter School Law allows public schools to turn into a charter school with 60% of the community voting in favor of such action. This bill says there is no vote. The community loses its voice.
Takes away money from GDOE. Charter schools are contractors that receive taxpayer money to operate privately controlled schools that do not have the same rules and responsibilities as public schools. Simon Sanchez does not receive $12 million a year. In fact, part of the reason the school is falling apart is because of the lack of funding. This bill would like to pay to a private company about $12 million a year for the next 40 years ($480 million at least). This money will come either from GDOE’s budget or from some other agency under the general fund. Result: less money for other students in GDOE.
Takes away a school from the students. This bill will prioritize the placement of students who attended Simon Sanchez; however, students can be denied enrollment for many reasons such as disability and not being smart enough. The nearest school for those who are not accepted have to be bussed to Okkodo.
Takes away accountability. GDOE spends part of its budget to assess students each year in various tests like the ACT Aspire and standards-based assessments. Charter schools do not have to follow any accountability practices.
Takes away quality education. Stanford released a study in 2013 that said charter schools that do take the accountability tests perform significantly worse overall than public schools.
Takes away certified teachers. GDOE prioritizes the hiring of certified teachers to fulfill one of its 14 points of quality education. Charter schools, like private schools, are not required to hire certified teachers.
Takes away GFT. The teachers at the charter school will not have rights protected by a collective bargaining agreement that limits class size, provides seniority, and enhancing the opinions of teachers.
The Give. A private contractor will rebuild a new campus for Simon Sanchez and operate the school with at least $12 million a year. In order to pay for the rebuilding with limited funds, the private contractor will have to cut corners, which may result in lower pay for teachers and less resources for students.
Patience is a virtue. The rebuilding of Simon Sanchez is plagued with many delays caused by bid protests through the current procurement process. Taking away Simon Sanchez and placing it into the hands of a private contractor with no control on the quality of education is detrimental. Build the school the right way where ALL students within the school district WILL be accepted, not just prioritized. GDOE has been steadily improving its quality of education. This bill is a vote of no confidence toward GDOE. View Bill 70-34 here