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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Charter School Garnering Support - MEETING THIS MONDAY - Plan to attend...

This letter is now circulating in the community.  It gives a great explanation of the new Charter School being proposed in the West Bend School District.  Seems some of the Board have ruffled feathers over this (while others are wholeheartedly supporting it).  It is a great idea and a fine opportunity for parents to have a choice.  Visit the Charter School website here:  http://crossroadswb.org/

More information on time and meeting location will be posted as soon as it is available!  PLAN TO ATTEND and LEND YOUR SUPPORT.

**UPDATE:  Meeting time is 5 p.m. at the Board Room in the Education Services Center.  This building is the OLD AMITY BUILDING.  Enter in front, go down the steps to the Board Room.  There are generally signs in the hallway.  The public will not be allowed to speak.  Come and show your support.


October 13, 2010

Dear Friend

By now you may have heard that I have petitioned the West Bend School District for permission to start a charter school in our community.  Well it is true!  For many years, I have been burdened about the education options available to our children.  While the West Bend School District has many fine teachers and wonderful facilities, they have not been able to maintain the quality and values that are important to many parents.  But there have been few options available. The cost of private education tuition, plus the taxes you are required to pay to fund public education have made private education prohibitive to most families.  For many, the only alternative was home schooling or virtual school.  But this is not an option for everyone. 

We believe that a window of opportunity is open for us to create a privately-managed, publically-funded, charter school that upholds the standards, values and educational quality that are important to us all.  I have petitioned the West Bend School Board for approval to open a non-instrumentality charter school in the fall of 2011.  Our petition will be presented before the full school board on October 18th and I need your help. 

Please contact your school board and indicate your support of this venture.  I am including their names and contact information below.  Let others know.  Public support is crucial in gaining the approval of our school board.  It is your tax money and you should have the option to educate your child in a manner consistent with your values and concerns. 

The enclosed fact sheet might address the questions or objections some have regarding a charter school.

Your school board members are:
·         Joe Carlson jcarlson@west-bend.k12.wi.us  334-1042 
·         Tim Stepanski  tstepanski@west-bend.k12.wi.us  334-0775
·         Kris Beaver  kbeaver@west-bend.k12.wi.us  306-2602   
·         Bruce Koenig  bkoenig@west-bend.k12.wi.us  335-2408 
·         Todd Miller tmmiller@west-bend.k12.wi.us 306-2604
·         Randy Marquardt rmarquardt@west-bend.k12.wi.us  306-2601
·         Dave Weigand  dweigand@west-bend.k12.wi.us  334-2984


Thank you for your support.


Bruce Dunford, President
Crossroads Academy Inc.

Questions you may have about a charter school:

What is a charter school?
A charter school is a tuition-free public school created on the basis of a contract or “charter” between the school district and the school.  Charter schools are nonsectarian public schools of choice that operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.   The “charter” establishing such school is a performance contract detailing the school’s mission, program, goals, students served, and methods of assessment.

What is a non-instrumentality charter school?
A non-instrumentality charter school differs from an instrumentality charter school in the manner of administration.  A non-instrumentality school is one that is not administered by the school district.  Its teaching staff are not members of the teacher’s union and are not eligible for the state retirement system and its administration is separate from the administration of the authorizing district.

Where is the accountability of a charter school? 
A non-instrumentality charter school has three levels of accountability:  The local school board reviews the test results of the charter school every year.  If the charter school fails to produce notable results in the education of the students, the school board can refuse to renew the contract.  Additionally, the state DPI reviews the test results and holds the charter school accountable.  But the greatest accountability is to the parent.  If the charter school fails to meet expectations or fails to produce a notable difference in the education of their students, the parent has the option of removing their child from Crossroads and enrolling him/her in the public school of choice.

How is a charter school funded?
A charter school is funded by education tax dollars, the same as any public school. Your school district receives revenues from local property taxes and from the state through the state funding formula. Currently, the West Bend School District receives a total of $10,766.00 per student on average 1.  In the case of a new student coming into the district, the district receives over $9,100 in new state aid (i.e. no effect on property taxes). This state aid is phased in over three years. In the first year of a new student’s enrollment the district would receive over $3,000.00. This would increase the second year and reach the maximum the third and subsequent years. Conversely, the same is true for a student leaving the West Bend School District.

The charter school negotiates a cost per student rate with the district which then becomes the operating income for the charter school. The difference between what the school district receives ($10,766.00) and the charter school charges (say, $8,000.00) remains with the school district (in this illustration, $2,766.00 per student).

Is there a cost to the school district?
No, and yes, depending on the amount contracted per student and the enrollment status of student enrolling in the charter school.
Let's say a student who is a district resident, but not previously enrolled in a district school (i.e. home schools or private schools), enrolls in a charter school for one year. The district would pay the charter school an average of $8,000, but would receive about $9,100 in new state aid over three years, for a gain to the district of $1,100.
A student who lives outside the district but enrolls in the school would generate $6,498 in revenue for the district, and the charter school would educate the student for $6,498 minus a 2% administrative fee for the district, generating $130 for the district for each student open enrolling in the district. (Currently, West Bend loses $1,102,999.40 in state aid due to students transferring outside the district rather than staying inside the district. Theoretically, if the 194 students who transfer out would enroll in Crossroads Academy, the District would gain $25,220.

A student who is a district resident and previously enrolled in a district school, will not cost the district since the district's enrollment count would not change.

The district may or may not be able reduce their existing staff and facility cost depending on the number and grades of students who enroll in the charter school, so it may be unfair to say that the district actually gains financially by losing students to the charter school. However, as the charter school increases in enrollment the district will realize a decrease in crowding and pressure to build additional schools or classrooms and to add additional teachers resulting in a tremendous savings to the district. 

The long-term financial benefit to the district is tremendous. 

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