Unformatted text preview: arter school, rather
than following special education students. 10 This article generated a series of responses, replies and rejoinders. In particular, see Zigmond (1999) for a
defense of the quality of special education service in one for-profit school and the response by Ramanathan
and Zollers (2000). 18 Research on Charter School Finance A small part of the recent Arizona State University (Mulholland, 1999) evaluation of
Arizona charter schools focused on funding and facilities. The need for facilities led
charter schools to forge strong ties both with local governments and with community
groups. In some areas, charter schools were able to make good use of public libraries, for
example. Some “stakeholders” surveyed as part of the study complained about a 1996
Arizona law that allowed charter school operators to retain ownership of property
purchased with public funds. Some also expressed fear that the exemption from state
facilities standards, which was intended to offer flexibility, might instead lead to unsafe
schools or to schools not accessible to disabled students.
The first major evaluation of the Texas charter school system (Texas Education Agency,
1998) also contained some information related to financing. The percentage of low-income
students was almost twice the state average in charter schools than in traditional schools.
Charter schools, however, enrolled special education students at one-third the rate of
school districts and limited-English proficient students at one-half the rate. Texas does not
require certified teachers for its charter schools, and more than half were not certified to
teach. The report concludes that so far, charter schools spend a smaller proportion of
expenditures on instruction and instructional-related services than school districts and
more on administration.
Finally, the analysis of charter schools by a UCLA team headed by Amy Stuart Wells
(1998) examined 17 schools in 10 California districts.11 The researchers concluded that
private resources were usually necessary for the operation of a charter school. The study
also found that schools operating independent of their home district were most in need of
outside support. One of the key fundraising techniques was to ask potential donors to serve
on the schools’ governing bodies (to which members are generally appointed, not elected).
Private support of charter schools appeared to be uneven, with greater financing available
to schools that serve predominantly middle class or white students. Parents’ contributions,
either financial ones or volunteering their time, also emerged as important in operating the
schools. Some of the charter schools had “contracts” with parents that mandated
involvement in the school, which raised questions concerning the accessibility of charter
schools to all parents and children regardless of their wherewithal in either time or money.
The UCLA charter school study found that school boards are more likely to hold charter
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This note was uploaded on 02/11/2013 for the course ECON 101 taught by Professor Smith during the Spring '09 term at Harvard.
- Spring '09