A recent column by Global Learning Charter Public School Executive Director Stephen J. Furtado entitled “Senator’s understanding of charter schools is misinformed” is itself what is misinformed (“Your View,” April 4).
The column correctly notes that “Sen. Pacheco stated that charter schools have a ‘significantly lower’ number of special education students.” That is true. Charter schools, including Furtado’s New Bedford charter school, typically serve a much smaller percentage of both special needs students and English language learners than do the area public schools. These students are much more expensive to educate because they need more individualized attention.
Furtado then goes on to claim, “What [Pacheco] did not mention is that charter schools receive no additional state funding to address and serve the unique challenges of these student populations.”
The per-pupil tuition that charters receive includes the costs of educating the whole range of students who attend the charter schools, including those with special needs and English language learners. The “additional” funding is baked into the formula.
The New Bedford Educators Association believes that the state should be using public dollars to support excellent schools for all students. That job is made harder if funds are siphoned off to charter schools, which use an array of enrollment practices to avoid serving the highest-need students.