Please read this short article about the fact that the Achievement School District did not report its per pupil funding on the state's 2012-2013 schools' Report Card: http://tn.chalkbeat.org/2013/12/20/state-run-districts-per-pupil-expenditure-not-included-on-state-report-card/. (The ASD was the only district in the state that did not have this amount listed.) The article states that, "Per-pupil funds are made up of local, state, and federal tax dollars and are distributed based on a formula known as the Basic Education Program, or BEP...Based on that formula, the ASD’s spokesman Elliot Smalley said the district’s per-pupil expenditure is $10,179."
As you likely know, many charter schools receive donations from private companies, organizations, and individuals (http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/dec/13/kipp-memphis-lands-3m-to-expand/?print=1). The above article only gave the per pupil amount based on the BEP formula--it apparently did not indicate the per pupil amount that included the money donated to these schools. In addition, the Department of Education's explanation for why the per pupil funding amount was not included on the Report Card is highly suspect. It should not be difficult to determine how much was spent on educating their students. We suspect that the ASD is spending much more on their students than they are reporting, yet they do not want us to know that it actually takes more money than Tennessee is currently spending to adequately educate the children of Tennessee.
As an aside, we are also bothered that the ASD received a growth score of 5 (out of 5) when their TCAP reading scores dropped by 4.5% and their math scores increased by 3.3%--for a net loss of 1.2%. (http://garyrubinstein.teachforus.org/2013/08/20/the-underachievement-school-district/) And, the fact that they throw Happy Hour events that serve alcohol to teachers on what appears to be the taxpayer dime is also very upsetting. (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/asdtfa-happy-hour-tickets-8393399885, http://events.wmctv.com/ASD_Staff_Happy_Hour/281359437.html,https://twitter.com/TN_ASD/status/392402445282062336). And last, but not least, we do not understand why the ASD ACT scores have not been released.
As taxpayers, we deserve to know how the ASD is using our money to educate its students. It seems to many Tennesseans that the ASD is allowed to play by a different set of rules, and the evasiveness of the ASD only strengthens our suspicions that this is the case. We deserve transparency and I ask that you investigate these issues when the legislative session begins next month.