I had lunch with seven charter school business managers today because we were planning the next school year's professional development series. Many of the suggestions for workshops related to practical information they need such as establishing a new charter school business office or using the state Chart of Accounts.
But they also asked for reminders on the original charter school philosophy. The dilution of the original philosophy has been a concern of mine for a long time. As new people come in to lead in the charter school system, they don't understand the original beliefs that people fought for when the Charter Schools Act was originally adopted by the Legislature in 1993. They don't even know about the original battles we faced such as the district telling our charter governing board that they would evaluate our principal yearly. Not!
Some charter schools have given up some of their autonomy, either because they didn't know any better, they thought it might be easier or they simply didn't care. For example, some charter schools run all their financials through the district's system. They don't have their own bank account. Even all their payroll goes through the district. While other charter schools get a monthly transfer of the Per Pupil Revenues into their own bank account and operate completely separate from the district. Since charter schools were created on the foundation that they would operate autonomously, in exchange for results, even this business operating decision should be influenced by the charter school philosophy. Maybe it is time for a refresher course.