I don’t pretend to understand the background of the next article. In Oregon is public school at home legally considered homeschooling, as it appears to be in Florida, or has the reporter genericized the home ed. concept?
In either case, I don’t think the former recipients of funding will be happy.
- The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, 19 June 2006, Home-school funding may drop Eugene’s HomeSource and other publicly funded programs that serve home-schooled students may suffer a severe financial blow in the upcoming school year because of a new interpretation of how the state should be paying for them.
In a memo issued last month, state Department of Education officials said school districts must apply a different per-pupil funding formula to students who are home-schooled than the one they use for students attending private alternative programs through referrals – a break with current practice.
At its peak, HomeSource served more than 700 students in courses ranging from algebra and physics to knitting and tap dancing. Under the state’s alternative education statute, Bethel passed along 80 percent of net, per-pupil operating funds, keeping the remaining 20 percent. All of the money flowed through Bethel, with neighboring districts signing releases for home-schooled students.
But last year, the state said the money would have to pass through a student’s home district, not Bethel, and that those districts also would need to be accountable for and make sure students took required Oregon Statewide Assessment tests.
Partly as a result of that change, HomeSource lost nearly 90 students from two districts. Both Junction City and Fern Ridge agreed to contract with HomeSource, but only with rigid new requirements that HomeSource found unacceptable.
With contract renewals on district board agendas this spring, more clouds are gathering for HomeSource. On May 8, the Pleasant Hill School Board declined to renew a contract with HomeSource, citing philosophical and legal concerns about taxpayer-funded courses for students whose parents have opted out of the public school system.
These are concerns that have been brought up also within the online homeschooling community, with similar disagreement.
Again, though, I have to wonder what the focus is.
- Praus-Williamson argues that contracting with HomeSource and other programs like it not only benefits home-schooled students, but also gives school districts a rare opportunity to build partnerships and generate good will within the home-school community.
While not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth, do the administrators have a similar concern about partnerships and good will with private schools? I’d avoid the nitpicking, but the meme continues to appear in reports from many different states.