Yes, they can appeal to... charter cheerleader Chris Cerf! Think that'll work well?Should public school districts be allowed to use tax money for lawsuits that seek to keep charter schools from opening? As charter schools increasingly go from urban to suburban it's a question that needs the public spotlight.The Princeton International Academy Charter School seeks to bring attention to the issue by suing three public school districts, contending that for two years Princeton Regional, South Brunswick and Plainsboro-West Regional districts have spent at least $44,000 in tax money for legal fees and other expenses in a "calculated and continuing campaign with the objective of ensuring that PIACS never opens its doors."PIACS was approved by the state but needed two extensions before opening; it is scheduled to start in the 2012-13 school year. The suit was filed with acting Education Commissioner Chris Cerf, who has kicked it to a state administrative law judge.That's a significant milestone for the charter school movement, said Carlos Perez, president and CEO of the New Jersey Charter Schools Association: "It's unfair that a startup charter school is forced to spend its limited resources fighting a public school district instead of using that money to educate children."Moreover, there is a process in place for districts to participate in the evaluation of charter schools. They can appeal a charter school's approval.
If anyone is having their rights stomped on and due process denied to them, it's the citizens of the Princeton area. They are having this charter school shoved down their throats by unelected bureaucrats whether they want it or not. The school board - their elected officials, whom they picked to represent them on education - have no say in approving this charter.
Now, these same officials are expected to just to hand over taxpayer money to these guys without any due diligence. What happens if the charter school - like charters in Philadelphia, and California, and Texas, and all over the country - is run by a bunch of crooks who scam the citizens out of their money? These boards have a fiduciary responsibility to make sure the taxpayers aren't being bilked; they will answer to their own communities if they don't, and they know it.
You'd think a self-styled crusader like Ingle would appreciate that. You'd think he's be put off by things like this:
The charter school isn't mounting its case on the cheap, either. It has hired one of the state's preeminent law firms, as well as a well-known public relations shop to defend its cause. Block said it was being entirely funded by private individuals, although he refused to disclose who they are. [emphasis mine]No, "Hoover" couldn't care less about that. Just like he couldn't care less about interviewing the hundreds of people who showed up to object to PIACS at a zoning meeting in April that required the police to enforce fire-code restrictions on occupancy.
See, "Hoover" is "baffled" by their objections:
"Hoover" thinks it's "choice" when bureaucrats from Trenton come to your district and force you to fund a school that has no track record, whether your community wants it or not. He thinks it's a good idea for taxpayers to roll the dice on the off chance this school will "succeed," and if the kids who actually go there wind up getting a crappy education for a few years and have to transfer when the school closes - well, that's life.The other side of the debate comes from Save Our Schools NJ, which wants the law changed so that local residents have more say about charters opening in their communities.That baffles me. If the public schools are doing such a great job, parents won't want to send their kids to a charter school and it will close. If the public schools are failing, competition is what they need to get them up to speed.Either way, monopoly is never good and forcing kids into a failing school based on their ZIP codes is right up there with wasting tax money on lawsuits when the courts have ruled school boards can't take advocacy roles.
The fact is that there is no "choice" when a charter is forced on your community. That charter will not take the kids who are hardest to educate; the ones who cost more to educate. No, that expense will be left for the district, which will not be able to count on economies of scale when some of the "average" kids leave for a charter. The taxpayers won't have a "choice" but to fund the now disproportionate number of special needs children with program cuts or tax increases.
That's not "choice," Hoover, no matter what that man you keep sucking up to says...
My "choice" is to keep sucking up to the bestest guv EVAH!
ADDING: Hoover just can't help embarrassing himself, can he?
Derrell Bradford runs Better Education for Kids (B4K), a new advocacy group based in Newark which is financed by hedge fund managers. The status quo types who think the Abbott schools decision is the answer, even though in 30 years it has changed little but costs a lot, want us to think there is something amiss about that. Bradford is one of the most dedicated people I’ve run across. He believes in looking out fore the kids but also rewarding the good teachers.Let's see some of that "dedication," shall we?
Hoover, if Bradford is "one of the most dedicated people I’ve run across," you need to hang out with some new people.