- Support IST
Former Head of School Mr Robert Young speaking on KUAT's "Arizona Illustrated".
IST is an independent school, meaning we are independent in our philosophies and policies, independent in our governance and independent in our funding. A charter school is a public school, and if you take the king's shilling you do the king's bidding. In other words, government money always has strings attached and our independence is central to who we are as a school and as a community.
However, there are two more important reasons. Arizona charter schools are largely unregulated and not uncoincidentally run the gamut from good to very bad. Inevitably the lack of regulation will be addressed and the state legislature will impose some controls or requirements with which we will disagree. As an independent school, IST is answerable to its students, parents and faculty and not to politically-motivated and politically-driven legislators.
Similarly, charter school funding is too uncertain. The state does not provide sufficient funds to run the school (every Arizona charter must make compromises for this reason, most noticeably in terms of campus) and few charter schools are able to find alternative or additional financing. In 2009, the state clawed back 15% of its charter school allocation - after the schools had committed to buildings, construction, staff contracts - and in 2010 the state delayed payment by two months.
And in addition, two one-time non-public schools converted to charter school report significant changes in programme, enrolment, parent involvement and so on. They are no longer what they were.
As an independent school, IST can be just that and can offer and provide students, parents and faculty what they are looking for.