MTA welcomes dismissal of lawsuit seeking to eliminate charter cap

Suffolk Superior Court today dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the constitutionality of the state’s cap on Commonwealth charter schools. The following is the MTA’s reaction.

Statement by MTA President Barbara Madeloni on the Dismissal of the Charter Lawsuit

We are deeply gratified that the Superior Court threw out the ill-conceived lawsuit that sought to eliminate the cap on charter schools. The court agreed with Attorney General Maura Healey’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit and accepted none of the plaintiffs’ multiple claims that limits on charter schools violate students’ constitutional rights. The MTA filed an amicus brief in support of the attorney general’s motion, as did the NAACP.

The ruling sets the record straight, finding that the cap is consistent with the constitutional requirement to “cherish” public education. The court noted, “This decision — how to allocate public education choices among the multitude of possible types — is best left to those elected to make those choices to be carried out by those educated and experienced to do so.”

“We are working with other supporters of public education to get out the truth recognized by the court: Charter schools will drain $450 million from district public schools this year, and that number could rise to more than $1 billion in just six years if Question 2 is passed.”

— Barbara Madeloni, president of the Massachusetts Teachers Association

We agree. Supporters of lifting the cap made their case to the Legislature and failed to win there — in the most appropriate venue for deciding how to allocate scarce education resources. Now they are engaged in the most expensive initiative petition campaign in the history of Massachusetts.

The court notes that charter schools are “funded by the school districts from which they draw students or in which they are located. Consequently, public funding for charter schools necessarily affects the public funding of non-charter schools in the district.”

Again, we agree. Through misleading ads, supporters have been trying to convince voters that Question 2 will actually increase funding for public schools. We are working with other supporters of public education to get out the truth recognized by the court: Charter schools will drain $450 million from district public schools this year, and that number could rise to more than $1 billion in just six years if Question 2 is passed. It is also important that voters understand that under Question 2, charter schools could be opened anywhere in Massachusetts, with no limit on how much money any one district could lose.