Maryland Charter School Funding History
Since charter school legislation was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2003, school districts and charter school operators have disagreed on how charter schools should be funded. The origin of this dispute lies in the lack of clarity in the law, which does not state what funding for charter schools should be.
Below is the law and a history of the litigation that has taken place, along with some links to key rulings from either the Supreme Court of Maryland (formerly the Court of Appeals of Maryland), the highest court in the state, or the Maryland State Board of Education (MSBE).
- February 6, 2023, multiple operators file a petition to the MSBE for a declaratory rule invalidating the charging of a mandatory 25% in the FY23 funding formula.
Petition for Declaratory Ruling 2_6_23
- In December 2018, the MSBE ruled that an imposition of a mandatory fee is illegal.
Baltimore City Public Charter Schools Mandatory Fees
- In an important December 2017 ruling, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) amends a previous decision, after the Supreme Court of Maryland outlined several errors in the opinion, and reestablished its independent judgment standard giving no deference to the local school board's conclusions. This is important because it reaffirms MSBE's authority with respect to the funding formula.
Frederick Classical Charter School vs. Frederick County Board of Education
- On December 18, 2017, the Supreme Court of Maryland stated that charter operators will be given the opportunity for discovery in Baltimore City Circuit Court. As of February 2023, charter operators' requests for discovery on various issues remain in Baltimore City Circuit Court awaiting a decision.
MD State Court of Appeals Proceeding 9_11_17
MD State Court of Appeals Ruling 12_18_17
Ruling Returns Charter School Lawsuit Against Baltimore to Circuit Court | Baltimore Sun 12_19_17
- On February 23, 2016, Baltimore City Public School System (BCPSS) files counterclaims against some public charter schools. The claims were dismissed.
- On February 23, 2016, the MSBE rejected BCPSS request for a ruling on its funding formula, saying the school system failed to present any facts, “The petition filed here presents no concrete facts from which we could declare the law.” The full petition is available to view below.
MSDE Petition Response 2_23_16
- On January 9, 2016, Baltimore City Circuit Court judge rules against BCPSS motion to dismiss charter lawsuits.
Judge Rules Against BCPSS Motion to Dismiss | Baltimore Sun 1_9_16
- On October 20, 2015, former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke exits talks with school system and charter schools, as he determined that talks were "no longer a productive process".
Schmoke Exits Talks With Baltimore Charters, District | Baltimore Sun 10_20_15
- On October 7, 2015, the Baltimore City Council's Education and Youth Committee held a hearing on Equitable Funding for City Public Charter Schools. The hearing can be viewed in full below.
City Council Hearing 10_7_15
City Council Probes School Officials on Charter Impasse | Baltimore Sun 10_8_15
- On October 6, 2015, three more charter schools joined the lawsuit, bringing the total to 14.
More Charter Schools Join Funding Lawsuit as City Council Plans to Probe Issue | Baltimore Sun 10_6_15
- More than 500 public charter school supporters from around Baltimore City gathered on September 26, 2015 at Lake Montebello for a #SaveTheChartersBmore rally.
Charter School Supporters Rally for Funding | Baltimore Sun 9_26_15
- BCPSS scraps the controversial proposed funding formula for public charter schools on September 22, 2015, as University of Baltimore president and former mayor Kurt L. Schmoke agrees to help mediate.
City School System Scraps Charter Funding Change as Schmoke Enters Talks | Baltimore Sun 9_22_15
- On September 10, 2015, Afya Baltimore Inc. joins many other operators from around the city in a lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court against our authorizer, the Baltimore City Public School System, alleging that the district's funding formula for charter schools violates state law and threatens their ability to serve thousands of students.
- On September 8, 2015, the school board presented a new funding formula for public charter schools, the latest step in an effort to resolve a longstanding dispute over the state's charter law.
City Schools Proposes New Charter Funding, Meets Same Resistance | Baltimore Sun 9_8_15
- Supreme Court of Maryland ruling on charter school funding formula July 30, 2007 asserts that the MSBE, not the local jurisdiction, has the authority to determine per pupil funding for charter schools.
Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners vs. City Neighbors Charter School
- The Monocacy Montessori 2006 ruling, by MSBE affirmed the State Board's authority to review funding formulas but gave deference to local jurisdictions, an issue that would arise in later rulings.
Monocacy Montessori Community vs. Frederick County Board of Education
- MSBE ruling on charter school funding formula 2005, establishes a formula for funding charter schools.
City Neighbors Charter School vs. Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners
- Charter school legislation is passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 2003.
Maryland State Charter School Law
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