by David Safier
Virtual (online) schools maintain a constant drumbeat for the idea they should get as much in funds as brick-and-mortar schools. Sure, they don't have buildings, utilities expenses or custodial costs, and they maintain 50-to-1 student-to-teacher ratios (in a good year. Sometimes the number skyrockets into the 100-to-1-plus territory), but that doesn't shake their conviction that they deserve as much per student as every other school.
Of course, they can't argue for transportation funds, right? Wrong, in Idaho, anyway.
"K12 actually gets paid transportation costs in Idaho because they argue that since they bring the school to the children, they should be paid the same as (ordinary) schools," said former Republican state Sen. Gary Schroeder, of Moscow, Idaho, who chaired Idaho's education committee for 18 years and sponsored that state's 2004 charter school law. "Virtual charter schools are organized for the most part by money, and the decision-making process in your state will be influenced heavily by education management organizations like K12."
That's K12 Inc.'s Idaho Virtual Academy, part of the for profit, publicly traded corporation whose obligation is to give its stockholders the greatest possible profits.
In Idaho, by the way, it's a graduation requirement that every student take at least 2 units at an online school.