The National Alliance for Public Charters Schools is calling the cut “particularly egregious” and said that the move would impact a majority of 3.3 million charter school students, who are overwhelmingly children of color and from low-income families.
The vast majority of charter schools are nonprofit organizations, though some states allow for-profit companies to manage charter schools, making up 10% nationwide.
But Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, told CNN that the sweeping language could impact schools that contract out for cafeteria services, special education services, or back office staff — some of the same things local district schools also hire private companies for. Without contracting out, schools may not be able to offer the services to special needs students that they are legally require to provide.
“I don’t think they fully considered the ramifications of the language they proposed. It’s pretty sloppy,” Rees said.
“This is an unnecessary targeting of charter schools,” he added.
But it’s possible the legislative text could be interpreted in a more narrow sense, and apply to only the small percentage of charter schools that hire a for-profit learning management organization that is involved in running all the day-to-day operations, said Conor Williams, a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.
“There’s evidence the for-profit charters, many of which are virtual, don’t perform as well. Limiting their support is a defensible policy,” Williams said.
The House spending bill is simply a proposal and it’s unlikely it will be approved by the full Congress in its current form. But budget bills are often viewed as a reflection of values. Biden’s budget request, which is also little more than an outline of spending priorities, did not cut from the $440 million in annual funding that charter schools have received in recent years.