Hillsdale Charters are Coming for Rural, Suburban Tax Dollars
A fiscal analysis released today from Public School Partners (a group I support and am a member of) reveals that if approved, Hillsdale College’s scheme to create charter schools in five Tennessee school districts (Madison, Maury, Montgomery, Robertson, Rutherford) would cost local taxpayers some $35 million when fully implemented.
Here’s more from Public School Partners:
Five proposed charter schools affiliated with controversial Michigan-based Hillsdale College would drain more than $17 million from Tennessee suburban and rural public schools during their first year of operation and roughly $35 million per year at maximum enrollment, according to a new fiscal analysis by Public School Partners (PSP) and Charter Fiscal Impact.
As a result, the five taxpayer-funded privately run charter schools would trigger steep increases in local school districts’ budgets — with costs passed along to county commissions and, ultimately, local taxpayers. Absent significant amounts of new tax revenue, public-school students and families could be hurt as districts grapple with fixed costs stranded in existing schools — including hard-to-adjust expenses such as staffing, maintenance, transportation, and utilities.
“No matter how you run the numbers, the financial math on charter schools just doesn’t add up for Tennessee students, parents, and taxpayers,” said Dr. Donna Wright, a PSP co-founder and retired superintendent of Wilson County Schools. “Privately run charter schools that aren’t accountable to elected local school boards significantly strain local budgets, which already are being stretched thin by inflation and other cost pressures.”
A PSP analysis found that the initial cost of the charter schools in each district (Clarksville-Montgomery County School System; Jackson-Madison County School System; Maury County Public Schools; Robertson County Schools; and Rutherford County Schools) would be around $3.5 million. That’s with a projected enrollment of 340 students in each location. At full enrollment, projected at 690 students, the cost per district moves to roughly $7 million. The total cost, then, is $35…