Agreement means equitable funding for Oklahoma students

The State Board of Education has voted to settle a longstanding lawsuit by requiring that public charter schools be funded on an equitable basis with their traditional public-school counterparts.

The agreement provides that charter schools will now receive per-pupil funding from local property taxes based on student enrollment, just like all other public schools.

Board member Trent Smith, who made the motion to approve the settlement, said it protects the state from potentially enormous financial liability that could wreak havoc with all school finances while also treating all public-school students the same.

“It strikes me as just fundamentally un-American,” Smith said. “Charter schools are public schools. I don’t understand why public schools get to count the charter schools in their district’s enrollment as part of their enrollment. I don’t think it makes any sense why the state’s paying for the same student twice. And then, also, I don’t understand why charter-school students are worth roughly three-fifths of a student at a non-charter public school. That’s doesn’t make any sense. And then you look at the numbers, a lot of these charter schools are outperforming public schools by a pretty wide margin. I think it makes sense: If parents want to send their kids to a charter school, they should expect to have the same level of funding as everybody else.”

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