One of the ballot questions that Massachusetts voters will vote on Election Day is whether the state should lift its cap on charter schools, allowing for up to 12 more every year. Question 2, has led to an expensive and heated debate from both sides.
The issue has been divisive, especially in Boston where the majority of charter schools and Mayor Marty Walsh are going against Governor Charlie Baker over the question.
“I think that raising charter schools by 12 per year is very aggressive,” Walsh said.
The mayor says it’s something he’s been opposed to since it was first proposed to voters.
“Up to 12 schools a year, many of those will be in Boston and it's going to hurt our funding, what we have right now,” Walsh said.
For years, the city of Boston and others have not received the full state reimbursements they’re supposed to get for what they pay to send a kid from a district school to a charter school.
The issue has created some contention in the school districts, 8 in Boston, where you have more than 9 percent of spending going to charter schools. The city also the greatest wait to see more of them.
“These schools deliver for these kids and that's the thing we should stay focused on,” said Baker.
Baker has long rallied for an expansion, telling necn Monday that the budgetary issues are nothing new, but the lack of options for students in failing schools is a growing problem.
"Ninety percent of the people in Massachusetts — whether they vote yes or no, it's really not going to affect the quality of the education in their schools," Baker said. "This is really an opportunity for us to send a message to the 10 percent who are in communities where they believe they need better options and better choices."
In total, a charter school expansion will only impact a small percentage of kids across the state, but its debate heading into tomorrow is only getting bigger.
Both Baker and Walsh said if the ballot question passes, they’ll have to revisit a better way to fund charter schools in the next legislative session.