Thursday, December 11, 2014

Charlotte-based charter advocate wants its schools to get lottery money

The Charlotte-based North Carolina Public Charter Schools Association has unveiled its list of legislative priorities for the year, and near the top of the list: Making sure charter schools get a slice of the lottery pie.

The North Carolina Education Lottery, which has been around since 2005, now gives a half a billion dollars per year to school systems. Mecklenburg County has gotten about $250 million in the past eight years. About $103 million has gone to pay for additional teachers in kindergarten through third grade. Another $92 million has gone to building projects.

Right now, charter schools only get lottery money when it gets commingled with  other sources of state revenue, says the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. They don't get their share of construction money.

Getting their share ranks near the top of the association's long list of priorities. Others run the gamut from allowing charter schools to charge fees that their local traditional school district does not, to making it easier for charter schools to obtain grants.


Anonymous said...

Oh the irony... It was originally believed charters would be operated for less since they were free from some of the regulations placed on regular public schools. Now the charterites want more money. We don't need more crony capitalism; a lot these charters are run by private companies that benefit their CEOs more than the children they serve. If the public finances the buildings, do they belong to the taxpayers or the charter company?

Before people cry foul about CMS and other large public schools systems... Corporate America has captured all major school systems as they are led by graduates of Eli Broad's unaccredited academy. They specialize in creating budget deficits and closing schools so their corporate buddies can benefit with their charter schools.

Wiley Coyote said...

Mr. Dunn

Perhaps you should revisit an article you wrote about 3 months ago:

Schools boost PTA membership through student fees

Parents generally have to lay out money for their children at the start of the year in school fees. Some schools are taking the opportunity to boost membership in the parent-teacher organization at the same time.

The you wrote this today:

Others run the gamut from allowing charter schools to charge fees that their local traditional school district does not...

So which is it?

CMS has the ridiculous athletic participation fee of $50 or $100 dollars. - Free & Reduced lunch influenced.

They were also charging some students $86 Dollars to take AP/IB tests while others took them for free. - Free & Reduced Lunch influenced.

Also, taxpayers are subsidizing the ASEP program in part by paying to keep the lights on and the HVAC running during those hours pretty much all year. Once money from the state goes into the budget, how much of the Lottery money filters down into help paying for this?

Anonymous said...

I am not surprised to read this news. I can hardly wait to read what the charter advocates who post on this blog have to say about this.

I say give them the lottery money, as long as they use some of it to bus poor black kids to their schools. I am sure most of the charter school folks would support such a notion, how about it Alicia? Do you think you would relish the challenge of teaching the classics to poor black kids?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:23 -
You're on it. These charters are almost always built on private land (improving value). Follow the money. They should not benefit from public investment.

Anonymous said...

Right now, lottery dollars for CMS school construction are 100% allocated to existing school projects by Mecklenburg County. Basically, the County has borrowed 100% of its lottery credit line to build or re-build various CMS schools. If Charter schools receive a proportional share of capital dollars it will mean fewer dollars for CMS capital and a longer period to build or renovate CMS schools. Bill James (Mecklenburg County Commission)

Anonymous said...

I hope people realize how absurd this is. We have already seen many charter school leaders stealing funds without facing criminal charges or made to return the funds. We have seen two here in Charlotte alone, Concrete Roses and Students First.
Another example, Kinston Academy, the principal at (who now leading another charter elsewhere), made paid himself a $10,000 on his way out the door, while his teachers went without compensation. The school was unable to account for the funds provided by the state just weeks before being shut down.
People will argue that the schools were closed and that is true, but not before the funding vanished.
It is also worth noting, as someone else has, many of the people who are operating charters are doing so to profit, google Baker Mitchell for example, Jonathon hage is another (Charter Schools USA). I ask you, do we need to help people like Mitchell and Hage make even more money? Especially at the expense of the children in tradtional public schools!

Wiley Coyote said...

Mr. James...

If you and the rest of the BOCC would gut Bright Beginnings, there would be what, roughly $20 million dollars that could be spent elswhere and could actually produce some return on investment?

Of course we know that's not going to happen because.

Charter and private schools exist primarily due to decades of political correctness and gerrymandering in public education. Plus the failure of educrats to come out of the closet and accept being called a racist or Uncle Tom to address the root causes of why public schools and a large segment of their students are failing despite trillions spent on education and poverty since the 60's.

Anonymous said...

Cannot let any of the lottery money go to charters. Publuc schools need it too much, so they can split giant raises among their legal staffs. Gotta keep certain lawyers happy, doncha know. Otherise they might irchestrate the firing of all sorts of folks, starting with the award winning suoerintendent and ending who knows where.

Anonymous said...

Andrew, who is the Charlotte based charter advocate who is lobbying to obtain lottery money for charter schools, Eddie Goodall perhaps?

Wiley, I agree with the points you raise, however this issue is much bigger than just CMS. There are many quality public school systems around CMS that are going to get hurt if this goes through.

Andrew Dunn said...

Yes, this is Eddie Goodall's organization.

Anonymous said...

I figured this was probably Mr. Goodall, his group is a powerful advocate for charter schools in this state (he is a former State Senator). It is unfortunate that the traditional public schools don't have such an effective person advocating for them in this state. There is so much misinformation being provided by charter advocates and yet no one holds them accountable.

Schools are merely a reflection of the community in which they serve. The same could be said about children, they are a reflection of the home in which they have been raised.

Anonymous said...

Good, charters should get a portion of the lottery money like all the other public schools do. Why should they be excluded from this pot? Are the students who attend charter schools less deserving than others. Are they like the south charlotte children who get 1/3 of the funding of the rest of the county? Speaking of which when is a charter going to open in South Charlotte to give us parents an option other than moving to another county. Cms is a train wreck unfair and an unjustifiable mess.

Wiley Coyote said...

Very good article from the Pundit House...

Charter Schools Scrutinized, Why Not CMS?

December 5, 2014 | Written by Lewis Guignard

Anonymous said...

I was under the impression that charters were supposed to be managed more efficiently (no bussing or cafeterias for example)and as a consequence, cost less to operate. While at the same time producing similar results as traditional public schools with the same demographic make up.

To be fair, I see valid arguments on both sides of this issue. I wouldn't want my kids attending CMS schools either, but that was one of the reasons we did not purchase a home within the CMS district to begin with.

I also tend to believe there are those who are merely looking for the private school experience for free!

Larry said...

The same tired folks who do not care that Charters only get about 70 percent of the funding systems like CMS get are always on here.

They always say well CMS has to pay for buses (paid for by the State, not given to Charter Schools) and Food (paid for by the feds)

When are we going to see some educated voters in this country, oh wait not if they keep choking the only bright spot in education, the Charter Schools.

Get some time and do some research folks, this is 2014 and if you are not moving with the territory, then you are going to be buried by it.

Other countries are kicking our well what am I even bothering to try anymore.

Yes the only place for your child is in the hands of the caring government.

Anonymous said...

Yes I would like a free private school experience. It would beat the pants off the current public school experience in South Charlotte where we have to pay for furniture, chairs, books and everything else that our tax dollars were supposed to pay for.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 10;23, why is this any more absurd than Battle and his staff deciding they can get by with one less lawyer and splitting that salary among themselves? Talk sbout greedy and self serving!.

Anonymous said...

Not getting money for capital improvements is the deal the charter schools agree to. People who wish to attend these schools know this. They also do not have to go by other state guidelines. Can't have it both ways. Go by those guidelines or get money, make up your mind. 37364

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:23,
I get what you are saying, that is why I stated, I see valid arguments from either side. larry also makes some valid points, but where Larry and I differ is that he feels charters are better because of the charter school concept. I feel the reason why some charters perform at a higher level has less to do with the actual charter school and more to do with the type of families who have children in the school. Take note of where the best charters are located, it is merely coincidence they are typically in affluent areas, you be the judge. That being said, this doesn't help the families within the CMS confines who would like a better school for their children. Most of you could care less why a charter is better, you just want out of CMS and i can understand why.

Shamash said...

Anon 10:23am.

"I hope people realize how absurd this is. We have already seen many charter school leaders stealing funds without facing criminal charges or made to return the funds."

I agree. It's insane alright.

But that's typical of the unintended consequences we get when some special interests want to get their piece of the pie.

It's hard to keep all the other camels noses from crowding under the special hole they put under the tent just for themselves.

I'd like to see the whole mess in public schools cleaned up, both charter and regular. Hold them all accountable.

Just because a school is run "for-profit" or by churches or by well-meaning Turkish Islamic leaders shouldn't matter.

Again, is there any other country on earth as seemingly hell-bent on its own destruction from within as we are?

If any budding dictators in the world were looking for free money to fund their coups, they could do little better than start schools in the US to tap into all the money we throw around.

Yamo said...

If you look at the REAL statistics, the lottery in 2012-2013 gave approximately $100 million to public schools, not the half billion in the article. Read the budget and look at the NDPI spreadsheets. Whether you agree with the lottery or not, I am incensed that the GenAss appropriated $37 million to advertise the lottery. If we do not get out and vote and get more involved in the process, then all we will have are lawyers and business people running our state and education. So far, this has not worked very well.

Anonymous said...

Under no circumstances should an individual have the unlimited ability to turn a school into a for profit enterprise. That ultimately, is what is slowing the growth of charters nationally. Charters have unusual privledges that allow it to run on less money. It shouldn't have discipline and security issues as it can kick kids out. Many refuse to add students after the beginning of the school year. Providing a cafeteria and transportation, including the fluctuating fuel costs, allows it to fiscally plan/save costs. Every year, CMS has paraplegic enrollees who require medical taxis both ways and a handful of adults to monitor /teach. Just look at New Orleans if you want to see what happens when charter magnates give to campaigns then reap unlimited rewards after. In short, no lottery money for charters and no public money for private school tuition!

Anonymous said...

The only thing Charlotte Observer has found in the Morrison investigation is $40 spent on a taxi that was personal use.

The latest email from Ann Clark tells us that many that are now in charge knew everything that was / is going on.

Does this smell funny to anyone else but me and Eric Davis?

Anonymous said...

I don't believe in charter schools-they are too loosey goosey in my opinion. Too secretive too.
But someone please do something about the schools in south charlotte. Does anyone care that we buy our own furniture and books? Imagine if West Charlotte was asked to do this. There would be riots.

Wiley Coyote said...

~ I don't believe in charter schools-they are too loosey goosey in my opinion. Too secretive too.

~ Under no circumstances should an individual have the unlimited ability to turn a school into a for profit enterprise.

CMS is "loosey goosey and secretive".

I hope we have MORE charter schools and believe in vouchers since CMS and public education in general have failed and wasted hundreds of million of dollars on Head Start, More at Four and Bright Beginnings. Let's throw in Project LIFT while we're at it.

Anonymous said...

8:57 Maybe you can bring your ball from home and have your child sit on it during the school day to save some money.

Larry said...

After reading all these comments about Charter Schools and the way the writers presented their positions, one can only come to one conclusion on the need for Charter Schools in this County and Country.

Anonymous said...


I currently teach the classics to plenty of poor rural white kids.

I also spent years teaching classical ballet to poor urban black kids.

It's a classical thing.


Anonymous said...

"Alicia? Do you think you would relish the challenge of teaching the classics to poor black kids?"

I think I'd relish the challenge of teaching you the finer points of reading comprehension.

And for the record, I also taught dance (classical and modern) for two years at the Univ. of the District of Columbia which is a predominately black university serving students and community members from the D.C. public school system. As a white female, I used to joke that I was an affirmative action hire. It is here I met a black D.C. public school teacher who later served as my boss for a non-profit organization that worked with urban black students many of whom were gang members during the height of the crack cocaine epidemic. At the time, I did "relish" this unique and challenging opportunity. I learned more from this experience than I ever did serving as a graduate teaching assistant for the School of Education and Human Development at George Washington University.


Shamash said...


Don't waste your breath.

You are obviously talking to a "classical" liberal there.

One who doesn't believe "those people" can learn anything unless they are being taught by someone who "looks like" them.

And that no one else could EVER "reach" them.

Now, get your privileged self out of here.

You're messing with the program.

Shouldn't you be driving a truck or something?


Three left turns make a right.

I learned that in a "liberal" arts program in Math.

Not trucking school.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Alicia the one who always posts while she is teaching? That should tell you all you want to know about Charter Schools.

Anonymous said...


I was accused of being a pointy hooded racist by my black high school students with the Prince George's County MD Public School system for trying to teach them classical ballet. I solved this nonsense by taking a field trip to the Kennedy Center to watch a Dance Theatre of Harlem rehearsal (Firebird). Arthur Mitchell came out and addressed students and educated them on the history of the company. From here on, ballet was embraced.

Arthur Mitchell also starred in a movie version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" which at least one person here thinks is "too advanced" for 5th grade. I disagree. My classes won't be doing a ballet version of the story but an adapted play version. My classes are very excited about performing Shakespeare. So am I. This is the kind of thing I live for.


Shamash said...


You KNOW classical ANYTHING is simply more Eurocentric propaganda designed to dominate the oppressed classes and make them feel even more inferior.

When you teach someone of non-European ancestry ballet, you are purposefully restricting their freedom of movement.

You are "enslaving" them to the Western concepts of "proper" human movement (and perhaps, even ideal body types).

You are simply an oppressor and dance and theatre are your means of torture to get compliance.

Anyone of "color" who practices what you teach is guilty of supporting their oppressors and, maybe even worse, of "acting" white.

Especially with that Shakespeare stuff.

Now, can't you find a truck worth driving before you destroy more innocent lives?

Anonymous said...


In 5th grade, I had the opportunity to dance with the NYC ballet in the Nutcracker under the artistic direction of world renowned choreographer, George Balanchine. The current artistic directors for the Charlotte Ballet are former Balanchine principals.

At age 11, I vividly remember watching a NYC Ballet rehearsal of "Apollo" based on classic Greek mythology. Imagine being subjected to "too advanced for 5th grade" material at such an impressionable age? And to think, I then went on to study classical Indian dance at Wesleyan University in CT at age 17? Classical Indian dance being far more difficult to learn than classical ballet.


Anonymous said...

I guess that great bell schedule task force accomplished what exactly? looks to me more of the same next school year. Can you say waste of time?

Shamash said...


I know what you mean about people misjudging "too advanced for fifth grade".

I got that all the time when I was growing up.

Adults telling me I "couldn't possibly understand" what I was reading and such was pretty much the story of my early life.

But some of the things you do at that age can become life-long hobbies or subjects of interest, so have at it.

Maybe a few kids will develop an interest once exposed.

I was a bit of an astronomy buff as a kid, for example, and the subject still interests me.

I made sure my kids learned something about the planets and objects in the sky even before school.

I don't "push" them, though, just expose them and let them see if they're interested.

My daughter knew what Saturn looked like and would look into the night sky for planets we talked about (and saw on the computer generated sky). She learned the names of the planets on her own because she thought it was fun.

I used to read encyclopedias for fun and picked up quite a bit doing that.

By the time the fifth grade came around, I knew quite a bit about the things I was interested in

I was pretty much a self-taught "classic" nerd that way.

One thing I did for fun even before the fifth grade was learn some alphabets (such as Phoenician circa 1600 BC) and use them as my private code for notebooks of interesting facts I kept.

I can still remember how to write many of the letters today.

I still find the subject of early languages interesting and now have a few books on early Chinese writing I keep around for occasional browsing.

But I think self-directed learning is probably best for some of these special topics.

Not too many kids were interested in the same things that fascinated me at an early age.

But I don't think it hurts for an adult to expose kids to many things which may (or may not) interesting.

Because you never know.

I'm planning on getting my kids a little racio-controlled vehicle for X-mas so they can practice "truck driving", though, just in case...

But I'm thinking it will be either a Ferrari or a Mercedes because I don't want to aim too low.

Anonymous said...


You crack me up.

You sound just like my brother who wanted nothing but a telescope lens for Christmas in 5th grade - which he received. He then built the rest of the telescope around the lens in our garage. Our garage was nothing but ongoing projects for my brother - rebuilt cars, rebuilt engines, rebuilt TV's, telescopes, etc. At age 16, my brother had an unknown brewery going on down in the basement while supposedly playing "Dungeons and Dragons". While every other 5th grade boy was playing outside with toy trucks, my brother would be locked in his room reading Carl Sagan.

You know, it would THRILL me to have you come in as a guest classroom speaker to deliver a "liberal" mathematics lesson related to radio controlled trucks. Wouldn't that be fun?

You know where to find me...