In his letter "Schools just want money back," Tribune Chronicle, Dec. 23, 2013, Bob Wilson, superintendent of Lakeview Local School District, tells a tale that is as oft repeated as it is false.
Wilson's letter is laced with invectives against profit, as if the teachers unions and administrators in Ohio's public schools do not personally profit under the current setup. Every study I have ever read shows public school employees receiving salaries and benefits that are much higher than their private school counterparts. So who is profiting by the public purse?
Next he calls charter schools (more correctly called community schools) the Grinch for supposedly taking money from under the Lakeview tree. But unmentioned is the fact that the outflow of dollars from Lakewood comes out of state funding - not local tax dollars, leaving locally generated money untouched.
And, also unmentioned by Wilson, the loss of per pupil funding is less than the cost to educate the students who opted for community schools. So, in essence, Lakeview reaps a windfall of $1,000 per student choosing community schools over his district's schools.
Oddly, Wilson fails to mention that, due to interdistrict enrollment (a state funding process that mirrors that for community schools), Lakeview receives $61,000 from Mathews Local School District. Seems he is OK playing Grinch (as he terms it) as long as his district is on the winning side, so to speak.
Finally, he makes a claim that NAEP scores across the U.S. have risen since the early 1990s. Besides cherry-picking the time frame, the claim is false. Some scores have risen in the early grades, but the U.S. has not seen improvement in high school scores over that time period. And it is the knowledge and skills at graduation that affect the future of young adults.
I should mention that I am a former school board member in Delaware County, Ohio, who neither uses nor benefits from community schools in any way. I simply like to set the record straight when those like Wilson paint an incomplete picture that, by telling half the story, benefits their agenda.
-- Jim Fedako, Lewis Center