WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Lawsuit Claims D.C. Underfunded Charter Schools To The Tune Of $770 Million

A charter school advocacy group has filed a federal lawsuit against D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt alleging that the city's government funds the two public school systems unequally.

In the lawsuit, the D.C. Association of Chartered Public Schools says that the city is violating the law that requires that traditional and charter schools be funded at the same level. Charter school advocates have complained for years that the D.C. government has violated that obligation.

"After more than a decade of trying every other means, through meetings, data and demonstrations and getting nowhere as a last resort, we’re asking the court if they’ll settle the law," says Ramona Edelin, director of DCACPS.

Forty-three percent of the city's 80,000 public school students attend charter schools.

Edelin says D.C. pays traditional schools based on estimates of the number of students they will enroll, rather than the actual number the system enrolls. Also, she says government agencies provide DCPS with free services, such as healthcare and security, that charter schools don’t always receive. And finally, she says DCPS also receives additional funding for operating expenses outside the per-pupil funding formula.

"By our count the amount of underfunding is $770 million since 2008, but we’re not asking that that money be paid, we’re simply saying, ‘Please settle the law,'" she says.

Two charter schools, Eagle Academy and Washington Latin, have joined the lawsuit.

Uniform Funding Complaint FINAL 7-30-14-1 by Martin Austermuhle

NPR

'Swiss Army Man' Directors Explain The Symbolism Behind A Farting Corpse

The directors of Swiss Army Man — Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert — talk to NPR's Kelly McEvers about what inspired them to make a movie about a flatulent corpse, and the deeper meaning behind it.
NPR

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger Persuade China To Eat Less Meat?

Like the U.S., China is battling obesity and climate change. So it's urging citizens to eat less meat — and spreading the word with public service ads featuring Hollywood stars.
NPR

Brexit Created Many Losers, But Some Winners Too. Which Are You?

Uncertainty generated by Brexit caused many investments to head south. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 3.39 percent. Still, there were some winners, like home buyers seeking low-interest loans.
NPR

Shock, Rage And Gallows Humor: A Brexit Backlash On Social Media

Young voters had overwhelmingly voted to remain in the European Union. Now there's a flood of anger from those who accuse older generations of choosing a future they don't want.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.