Beggars, choosers, and charter school facilities

Everyone knows that finding affordable facilities is one of the big challenges facing charter schools. In 2000, California’s voters passed Prop 39, requiring districts to offer space to charter schools. Nice idea, but as in other places with similar provisions, pretty tough to make work in practice. The latest example would be funny if it weren’t true: the Sierra Sands district offered a charter school space for its 223 students — but in 9 classrooms in 5 different schools spread across 65 miles! The school sued, and an appeals court just ruled in the school’s favor. Good for that school, but the story underscores the need for charter schools to control their own facilities destinies — ideally via per-pupil funds they can use to rent or buy buildings that meet their needs. Much better than begging the district for facilities crumbs.

— Guestblogger Bryan Hassel, Public Impact

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