The fact is the Albany school district has been awash in cash, having been the recipient of huge increases in state aid over the years, including extra "transition aid" for charter school payments. This allowed the district to create sizable fund balances and avoid personnel layoffs even as charter schools were being added and expanded. While state aid increased by a small amount this year, the district imposed a similarly modest 2.5 percent property tax increase.
Nine charter schools have opened since the advent of charters in Albany ten years ago, and three more are scheduled to open next year. While students have flocked to charters, the district has refused to downsize; closing only the chronically failing Livingston Middle School in part because it opened a new district middle school a few years prior.
Several district schools are under-enrolled. The budgetary response should be to consolidate those schools rather than complaining about charter schools that are doing better by students on less money.
for The Chalkboard
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