What would happen if lower income families with students in school if those families had a chance to choose a school for their child...
Can you afford a private school, a charter or the politics to wedge your child into a gifted program?

Can you afford a private school, a charter or the politics to wedge your child into a gifted program?

What would happen if lower income families with students in school if those families had a chance to choose a school for their child in the Chesterfield system?

Currently we know that schools in areas with families of lesser incomes have children with less opportunities and poor grades. It is not just holding your thumb in the air and testing the wind, it is a demographic truth.

There are two ways a voucher system could work: the school system would allow each student an allowance, say in Chesterfield $7,500, and that voucher could be applied to any school in the county as well as homeschools. As you can imagine, those on this (southeaster side of the county) some families may not be able to send their child across the county to a better school where the good teachers have fled; Would schools offer transportation which would push the stipend affordability down? You could debate the pros and cons all day.

According Carolyn Hansinger, with Chesterfield County Schools, “Chesterfield County does not have any stipend for the home school families.”

Here is a little information on some tax credits that may apply, if needed.
“Different states with charter-school legislation have adopted widely different positions in regard to the conversion of private schools to charter schools. California, for example, does not allow the conversion of pre-existing private schools into charter schools. Both Arizona and

Michigan allow such conversions, but with different requirements,” according to the U.S. Department of Education. “A private school wishing to convert to a charter school in Michigan, for example, must show that at least 25% of its student population is made up of new students. Legislation in Arizona stipulates that private schools that wish to become charter schools within that state must have admission policies that are fair and non-discriminatory. Also, while Michigan and California require teachers at charter schools to hold state certification, those in Arizona do not.”

Don Wilms, Chesterfield County Education Association said. “Vouchers and charter schools take money away from already short-changed public schools no matter how you spin the issue. Voucher proponents like to say that the money should follow the student. But let’s say a student leaves a school? What happens to the costs associated with that student? Unless an entire class of same-grade, same-level, same-school students all decide to use vouchers to attend private schools, then nothing changes where school costs are concerned. The schools, and hence the taxpayers, still have to pay for the teachers of students who opt out of public education. They still have to pay for the custodians, the secretaries, the counselors, and all other ancillary services that public schools are expected to provide. They still have to pay the bills for the electricity and the water and the general maintenance of the building. So removing a student and the funding for that student doesn’t remove the costs of that student from the school system’s expenses.

The only current, stand-alone, charter school in the Richmond area, the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, was denied accreditation earlier in 2016. And while charter schools proliferate in many states, their academic track record shows no more success than public schools.

So why would we spend taxpayer dollars on schools that do not fare any better than public schools and do so with less diversity, fewer students with disabilities, and so forth, when we can get the same results and still educate a more diverse student population in our public schools?”

“When you wage war on the public schools, you’re attacking the mortar that holds the community together.
You’re not a conservative, you’re a vandal.” – Garrison Keillor

This issue is still in flux, as politics make strange bedfellows, taxpayers and voters will have to wait on the outcome.

“After speaking with our Board chair,” Carrie Coyner, Bermuda School Board Member said,” the position of our Board is that the constitution of Virginia guarantees that decisions on charter schools will be made by local school boards and at this time there are no vouchers in place.

We will closely monitor any new regulations or laws to assess how to best respond should any of these situations change.”

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