School finance issues influence debate on charter cap lift
State House News Service
With the press on from charter school advocates to lift or eliminate the cap on charter enrollment in poorly performing school districts, the battle brewing over the issue in the Legislature appears to have as much, if not more, to do with the distribution of state education aid than the merits of charter schools.
The Race to the Top Coalition staged a rally at the State House on Wednesday, urging a House-Senate committee to recommend a bill filed by Rep. Russell Holmes, of Boston, and Sen. Barry Finegold, of Andover, to eliminate the cap in underperforming school districts and give schools on the cusp of being labeled underperforming more autonomy over hiring, curriculum and other functions.
Though a bill could surface anytime between now and the end of session in July, the Education Committee faces a March 19 deadline to report on bills pending before the committee. Holmes and Rep. Paul Schmid (D-Westport) were the only two lawmakers to attend a portion of the rally.
“Why put a cap on success?” Boston Foundation President Paul Grogan asked, citing a study done by Stanford University that found students in Massachusetts charter schools gained one-and-half months of learning in reading and two-and-half months in math by attending a charter for one year.