The Charter School Vote

Chris DeLorey comments:

Hi Will –

I hope you will vote to lift the charter cap in underperforming districts (H4108). there are over 40,000 children on waiting list right now and you and I both know the main reason to vote against this is political.
Our kids in Belmont have a great headstart and our town deserves a great deal of credit for our achievements. I hope you will consider the plight of the families in districts that dont have the same opportunities as your children or mine, but we know , when given the chance they can perform as well as our kids do. It’s fair and the right thing to do. I look forward to your vote. Thanks Will.


And conversely, Anthony Kelley comments:

There is a senate vote to raise the cap on Charter schools on Wednesday, July 16th. In a conversation with me Senator, you agreed their are a number of problems with the existing Charter Schools. An example of this is the fact that the Charter School keeps our tax dollars even if the student returns to public school. If you increase the number if Charter Schools you increase the problem. Please vote no on lifting the cap.

I’ve heard a lot on both sides of this question.  I’m prepared to support the approach being developed by Senator Chang-Diaz which allows expansion of charters provided that the state is meeting its commitments to provide partial reimbursement to school districts losing funds as a result of the transition.  I share the feeling that every parent should be allowed to bring their children to schools that they feel good about and in some cities that often means charters.  At the same time, when districts lose funds to charters, it makes it harder for them to improve and I also hear from Boston parents who like their district schools and oppose the loss of funding.  It really isn’t just the BTU  that is opposing charters.  There are parents who care about their kids on both sides of the question.  Senator Chang-Diaz has many constituents on both sides of this divide in her district and I think she is doing a nice job trying to strike a practical balance.



Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

6 replies on “The Charter School Vote”

  1. I hope strongly that you will not lift the charter cap. I am a Mom who lives in the Fenway with a bright, warm, and creative daughter who is autistic. I don’t trust charters to follow an I.E.P. or look at my child as an individual. Charters take away money from public schools and this year was particularly bleak with the cuts that have affected many schools in Boston. Even if the reforms happen I still don’t want the cap raised because I think there are already enough charters out there.

  2. Thanks for weighing in Lisa, you are not alone and your voice, as a parent, is the kind of voice the matters most to me. There are other parents, equally committed to their children, who passionately want charter options. I think we need to do our best to help all parents help their kids. I feel that Senator Chang-Diaz’s approach does a good job balancing the wishes of Boston parents.

  3. Senator, I applaud you for trying to do the right thing with all concerned.

    As a constituent of Senator Chang-Diaz, however, I would actually urge you to vote NO on the legislation nonetheless. I was grateful you met me along with other BPS parents recently to speak about this issue, and one of the things I brought up to you was the negative funding impact raising the cap would further have on public schools in districts charters operate in.

    You asked me specifically about charter reimbursements, and I explained that despite the best intentions, they actually do not help, but rather accelerate the decline of public schools, including level 1 and level 2 schools!

    I drew you a picture to explain:

    Please vote NO today, please respect my choice to send my two daughters to a school they call their second home.

    Thanks for your time.

    1. BTW, great info graphic. I’m not sure that I am convinced by the economic analysis — in a system as large as Boston, there is a lot of room to shift resources around. But I don’t disagree either. I do think full funding of the charter reimbursement should be a necessary condition for lifting the cap. Regardless, it’s a well delivered message!

  4. We voted yesterday on the Charter School bill. The outcome of this vote yesterday was that nothing will be done this year on charters.

    The Chang-Diaz compromise failed by a vote of 13 to 26. That compromise was in the form of an amendment to the pending bill that had come over from the House. After the compromise failed, the House version, which did nothing to protect budgets of local school districts, failed 9 to 30. I voted for the compromise and against the House version.

    Charter school advocates overplayed their hand in this vote by opposing the Chang-Diaz compromise. Their lobbying against the compromise, in the days running up to the vote, doomed their legislation for this year.

  5. Will,

    The Chang-Diaz compromise had merit and I am glad that you supported it. I hope that it comes back.


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