The “Healy School”, modestly named after one of the 2 co-founders, Maureen Healy, an author of pop-psychology books on raising children, proposes a $14 million dollar school budget over the next 5 years. Some of this would be removed from NUSD’s budget via student attrition though monies would also be lost from diversion to this school of NUSD property tax funds.
NUSD would further lose money through duplicative Administrative costs.
Healy School proposes a private school Administration staffing structure including a full-time Director, full-time Principal, full-time Office Manager AND a full-time Assistant Office Manager as well as a full-time School Counselor for an elementary school of 244 children by year 5.
Our elementary school Principals overseeing schools of 350-425 students would eat their hearts out for this kind of Administration staffing.
The required provision of facilities by school Districts to Charter schools under California Proposition 39 would also require NUSD to update and remake existing facilities used by the Healy group to make sure they are compatible with an elementary school, an additional NUSD cost burden.
AND if the Healy School does not meet enrollment requirements, any debt they would create by failing to do an adequate budget estimate (which COULD easily happen, remember these are folks exclusively from expensive private school backgrounds with NO experience in public schools) would be tossed back to NUSD.
If you think this is a made-up story, look no further than the debacle of the “Ross Valley Charter”
The nearby Ross Valley School District after denying the proposed “Ross Valley Charter”, with the Marin County Board of Education ALSO denying the Charter was eventually approved by the State Board of Education which has a reputation for rubber stamp approving ALL denied Charter petitions (proposals) that reach their desk. The “Ross Valley Charter” is currently over $100,000 in debt due to unfulfilled enrollment estimates, a debt that goes right back to the Ross Valley School District and which impacts Ross Valley public schools.
Unfortunately, IF a Charter School is denied by a School District, denied by the County Board of Education BUT approved by the State Department of Education which appears to be chock full of Charter School supporters, the funding for the Charter STILL comes out of the school District funds that it initially filed its petition (proposal) in.
One small glimmer of hope is that in 2019, in an effort to stop the indiscriminate approval of Charter Schools which studies have shown have a significant NEGATIVE financial impact on School Districts, the State passed a law that required that the State Board of Education SHOULD deny a Charter based on potential bad financial effects on a school District.
As NUSD almost closed an Elementary school last year based on budget shortfalls, hopefully, IF the Healy Group appeals their petition to the State Board of Education, we would qualify for this consideration if things get that far.
Not so as far as Ms. Healy is concerned, however.
Despite being a Novato resident and wanting to open a Charter school paid for by Novato property tax dollars and NUSD per student funding, 1 year after NUSD almost closed an elementary school due to budget shortfalls, an issue that roiled the affected schools and made the headlines in the Marin Independent Journal (IJ) on several occasions, Ms. Healy in an interview with the Marin IJ after her Charter School proposal was submitted in October disputed that NUSD was cash-strapped and had budget issues
Really Ms. Healy?
Save Our Novato Schools thinks you are WAY too out of touch with your public school community to be entrusted with any public funding removed from our great public schools at NUSD.