More than half of school district charter applications were submitted in June

2013-07-23T13:35:00Z 2013-07-23T16:37:11Z More than half of school district charter applications were submitted in JuneBy Jamar Younger Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
July 23, 2013 1:35 pm  • 

Last month, school districts submitted applications to convert about 60 traditional schools into district-run charter schools.

The Vail, Tucson and Tanque Verde unified school districts were among that group, submitting paperwork for five schools.

A story in yesterday's Arizona Daily Star highlighted why school districts are increasingly converting schools to charters, as well as reaction from officials at traditional charter schools.

Charter schools, both traditional and district-run, receive about $1,000 more per student in base level funding from the state.

To read yesterday's story, click here.

A June 3 memo from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee illustrates the dramatic increase in applications and what appeared to be a mad rush to submit charter school paperwork by the end of last month.

When the memo was sent, school districts had submitted paperwork for 24 schools.

That means districts submitted applications for more than 35 more schools  during the month of June.

June 30, which is end of the fiscal year, was the deadline.

In the memo, state officials made budget projections for the next four fiscal years.

Officials predicted 60 schools would convert for the 2014-15 fiscal year, along with 90 for the 15-16 fiscal year.

At that rate, the conversions would have cost the state $22 million in 14-15 and $39 million in 15-16.

However, this year's conversions, with the updated number of schools, are expected to cost the $36.4 million for the 14-15 fiscal year, when the districts receive full funding for charter students, according to the Arizona Department of Education.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee made their initial estimates based on very little previous data, said Steve Schimpp, deputy director of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

"This is the first year that more than one or two schools are doing conversions," Schimpp said in an interview last week. "It was not an issue in prior years."

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About this blog

Ed Notes includes stories and related items from all Tucson-area school districts written by Arizona Daily Star reporter Alexis Huicochea.

Have an education-related topic you would like to see on the blog or suggestions? Email Alexis Huicochea at alexis@tucson.com

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