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3:26 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

Editorial: Charter versus district schools is about choice

They're complaining about an unequal playing field. We're not seeing it.

A state appeals court says Arizona charter schools aren't legally entitled to the same state funding provided to district schools, according to the Associated Press.

The Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld a Maricopa County Superior Court judge's ruling that the state's school funding system isn't unconstitutional though charter schools and district schools get unequal funding.

Let's think about this for a second. District school officials, at least those in the Prescott area, complain that charters are not required to have certified teachers, that charters drain districts of the "best" students, and that charters have more leeway in the classroom.

Also, charters do not have to provide different accommodations for special education students. They also do not have the overhead a district does.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of parents of students attending charter schools, had argued that the school funding system violates the Arizona Constitution's requirements for a general and uniform public school system and for equal protection under the law.

The Court of Appeals said it's enough that the charter schools provide students with an adequate, free public education and that charter school students can attend district schools if they desire.

It all comes down to a simple caveat that worked for the charters until now: it's called choice.

Not all districts are created equal, and not all charters deliver exceptional results. The way to see the difference is in the test scores and school grades the state issues each year.

If you like one over the other, you can let your feet do the walking. And that knife cuts both ways.