The Globe claims that “charters aren’t draining district school funding” (Editorial, Oct. 2).

How can the “education dollars follow the student,” yet no money leaves the district?

The state website lists the net amount each district spends on charter school tuition. It’s money the districts can no longer spend on existing schools and programs. One can see all the numbers, from $458,786 for Abington to $22,400,194 for Worcester — $451,338,729 statewide.

The money follows the child, but the costs don’t. If a child transfers out of a classroom, the district can’t lay off 1/20th of a teacher and save 1/20th of the heating bill.

Real savings only come when the district closes a school, disrupting the lives of the children whose parents chose that school, and often damaging the entire neighborhood.


There’s another reason charter expansion hurts district students: Few charter schools educate the most expensive students — those with severe disabilities. Again, the numbers are on the state website. But the state funding calculation does not adjust for that. So the charters get funded as if they have these students, but the district has the costs.

The result of not recognizing real costs: Districts have to cut back across the board. That happened in Boston this year, provoking a student walkout. It will get much worse if Question 2 passes. Unlimited expansion of charter schools will hurt children in our existing schools.

Patricia Jehlen
State senator
Democrat of Somerville