The schools’ lead applicant, Dr. Andy Lopez-Williams, specializes in children with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The school would utilize methods developed by Lopez-Williams, but would be open to all students.Per his website, Dr. Lopez-Williams has impressive credentials and experience, as well as a business that centers on providing services to individuals with autism. Certainly parents of autistic children would applaud having an alternative. The proposed school's prospectus reads well, seemingly promising something for everyone.
No reflection on Lopez-Williams, this spells big TROUBLE for Utica because of the way New York State funds and controls Charter Schools...
Taxation without representation.
Utica taxpayers and residents will have NO referendum on the new school . . .and NO means of control over the school. Rather, if the school gets a charter from the State, Utica's overburdened taxpayers will be stuck paying for it.
Dual public school system
Utica is having enough trouble keeping one school system going. Saddling the taxpayers with the cost of a second will drive more people and jobs out of town, threatening the city's economic viability.
Creation of another special interest group looking for a handout.
The New York Charter Schools Association is already complaining that its per student level of funding is less than that of regular public schools. You will hear this complaint more with a local charter school.
Local school boards have difficulties exacting performance out of their schools. Do people really believe that licensing authorities in Albany are capable of doing a better job?
Fragmentation of the curriculum with "designer schools"
An example is Chicago's "green" school. Taxpayers could be forced to pay for charter schools for every social cause, political agenda, or interest.
Taxpayer funding of private business endeavors and experimentation.
If educators think they have a good idea, they should bear the risks of implementing it, not the taxpayers. Taxpayers should not be forced to fund someone's experiments. Let the marketplace rather than a state board determine "success."
Charter Schools are part of the legacy of the Republican Gov. Patacki years, but they have been expanded by his Democrat successors. Fittingly, Albany has the greatest number of them. Fred Lebrun of the Times Union has written several articles worth reading:
- Cost of charter schools puts Albany in spiraling tax trap
- SCHOOLS OF HARD KNOCKS
- EDUCATION INITIATIVE IS NOT NEEDED
There is something very wrong with our government when one man can go to a State board to force an entire city pay for his personal dream. The Charter School law needs to be changed to give residents of local school districts the say over if and how a Charter School will be implemented.