By next week, most kids will be back in school. According to the newspapers, there isn’t much to be excited about.

Today’s Delaware County Daily Times presents four depressing news stories about schools. The first involves sexual misconduct by staff at a private school in Providence, Rhode Island. It sounds too familiar to the catholic church sex scandal where both cases were covered up for years before anything was done.

Then, in the opinion pages, there’s a story on Lower Merion school district being accused of building up a huge reserve fund of $60 million while claiming they’re in deficit mode. It took a judge to roll back the huge tax increase the school district levied to help their budget.

Following that story is a rebuttal on and earlier story that tries to defend the importance of cyber charter schools. And, finally, our own Chester Community Charter School makes a case for justifying the department of education reimbursing schools for the construction of the new buildings they choose to build.

Here’s my opinion on these four stories.

The private school in Rhode Island plans to payoff 30 victims of sexual abuse they encountered in the 70s and 80s. What more could you ask? Victims of sexual abuse have been, and continue to be, a double victim as their claims are often ignored and protection is scant. Hopefully, the situation is under control at that school, but it won’t be long before we read another story like this in the news.

Lower Merion needs to come clean with their budget. I can’t understand why it’s so hard to audit school districts and get real numbers from them. In most cases they’d be classified as a small to medium sized business. Any good accountant can put together a budget everyone can understand. Stock piling $60 million for any reason other than educating students should be considered criminal. This should have never got to the point of a tax increase.

Cyber charter schools are the most invisible educational institution ever devised. To think that they have cyber schools for K through 12th grade is ridiculous. Show me a 3rd grader that’s going to have the discipline to sign into their laptop and follow a lesson plan from their bedroom, and I’ll show you the next Einstein. I think cyber curriculum is excellent in a home school situation where a parent or instructor is working with the student. But, from what I’ve seen, most cyber students are on their own. It can certainly work, but only in certain circumstances.

And finally, our Chester Community Charter School is sick of the state changing the charter school rules on them, no matter how ambiguous the rules are. I think the case they’re making is that if they are approved to start a school, and the state isn’t going to give them any money to build a school, then the state should provide the school with money so they can pay the lease to the guy who built the school for them.

Needless to say, the charter school law is broken. Somebody needs to have the balls to pull the plug and rewrite they entire charter school policy to something that gives parents a choice but doesn’t break the bank or put students in a worse situation than what they are trying to escape from.

Hopefully, we can look forward to good news coming out of our schools this year. If you have any good school news stories, please send them to me. I’ll gladly post them.