BOE joins opposition of charter schools

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Butler County Board of Education passed a resolution at its April meeting opposing charter schools in Alabama.

Butler County Schools Superintendent Darren Douthitt said the resolution was passed in effort to join other districts in Alabama.

“I think the resolution basically allows us to participate in unison with all the other public schools throughout Alabama,” Douthitt said. “I don’t consider charter schools our nemesis, and there may be a place for charter schools in the future of Alabama. I don’t think that time is now.”

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With the passing of the resolution, board members agreed that “charter schools would have a negative impact on the quality of education in Butler County, based on the fact that there are no requirements for established standards, curriculums or teacher certification,” according to the resolution.

The resolution also stated that the finances for creating charter schools would come from existing funding resources, which would cause “financial devastation to already struggling school systems.”

Julie Sellers Swann, Attorney and UniServe Director of the Alabama Education Association, helped the board come to decision of passing the resolution.

“I suggested a resolution to Mr. Douthitt and offered some language on the resolution,” Swann said. “He took the initiative to craft a specific resolution for the county and propose it to the board – which then adopted it.”

According to Swann, the Legislature is proposing charter schools, which are schools that don’t operate under the same accountability and laws as public schools do.

“Under the current bills, for-profit companies will be allowed to run the charter schools,” Swann said. “Charter schools will cut funding to the existing public schools in the state.”

Swann found in a national study conducted by Stanford, that more than half of all charter schools do not work as well as public schools.

“Seventeen percent of charter schools do better,” Sellers said quoting the study. “Thirty-seven percent do worse and 46 percent make no difference. For every charter school that does better, two perform worse.”

Douthitt said he would be interested in anyone’s thoughts on the matter and would be happy to discuss the idea of charter schools in the state.

“Anyone who like to share their opinion can give me a call,” Douthitt said. “Everyone has their take on it. I’d be interested in their thoughts in the matter.”

To find read the full version of the resolution click here.