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Linda Reid, Superintendent of the South Euclid Lyndhurst Schools

In testimony on March 5, 2015 before the House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education, Linda Reid, the Superintendent of South Euclid Lyndhurst (SEL) Schools spoke about the need to change the way in which charter schools are funded in Ohio because of the burden it places on local communities. Reid described the extent to which local taxpayers in her district are subsidizing the cost of sending local students to charter schools:

In our district 118 students choose charter schools, as a result $688,866 is deducted, at a rate of $5800 per student from our state foundation. This amount of money is much greater than the $1,350 per student or $159,300 that we receive in state aid for those students.

In other words, for every student that leaves the SEL district and enters a charter school $4,400 is made up through local tax dollars. SEL Schools pay more in local dollars to charter schools than is deducted from the state foundation on a per pupil funding basis. […]

The local community situations are not being adequately considered when planning for the financial impact. The state gives more money to charter schools than the districts they’re leaving, which leaves districts in a lurch for filling that void. That void is filled through local property taxes, which is the opposite of what the Ohio Supreme Court ruled three times, which is the need to become less dependent on local property taxes.

Reid went on to describe how the burden is on the local schools, not the charter schools, to verify student residency in determining whether charter schools are eligible to receive a portion of the district’s funding:

In SEL we adhere to strict enrollment procedures that minimize fraud and ensure that the students we educate are residents of the community. In comparison, we found, the majority of registration procedures for the charter schools attended by SEL residents lacked strict guidelines and in many cases had no detailed registration requirements. Two of the most popular charter schools that students in our district attend, one on-line, the other a “brick and mortar” school have no detailed requirements for residency verification.

Read Superintendent Reid’s full testimony.