(KCPW News) The Jordan School District is about to write a $735,000 check to the state's charter schools. But the district isn't happy about it. Board member Peggy Jo Kennett says the Legislature needs to find another solution to fund the increasing number of charter schools in the state.
"They need to address the funding for charter schools and not put it on the shoulders of locally elected school boards. That needs to be their responsibility and they don't need to put it back on locally elected school boards," Kennett says.
On Tuesday, the Jordan school board joined the Granite and Ogden districts in passing a resolution against a new law requiring districts to give charter schools a portion of their property tax dollars. While the state's 66 charter schools are technically public schools, they can't ask voters to pass property tax levies to supplement their budgets. And their boards aren't elected by the public. Even the seven-member State Charter School Board is appointed by the governor, and not elected.
But board chairman Brian Allen, who helped create charter schools when he was a legislator in the 1990s, notes that parents of charter school students pay property taxes, too. He says they have a right to give a portion of it to their children's school.
"What everybody fails to remember inside the educational community is that it's the parents' money. It's not their money. It doesn't come from some nebulous pot of gold somewhere. It's parents and people," Allen says. "And people have a right to have some options in how their services are delivered to them."
But Allen says he's not satisfied with the new law, either. He sees it as a temporary fix at best. Allen says the State Charter School Board plans to propose an alternative way to fund charter schools during the next legislative session.