Venturesome Capital- State Charter School Finance Systems

1995 the second most common practice for counting

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Unformatted text preview: e must first consider how students are counted. The most common way to count the number of students for funding purposes is either the average daily membership (ADM) over time or the enrollment or head count on a particular day. As of 1994, 34 states used membership in one form or another (Gold, et al.1995). The second most common practice for counting students is average daily attendance (ADA). As of 1994, seven states used this method. Another seven states based their school funding on staff counts rather than on pupil counts.20 The techniques used by states in counting charter school students, shown in the table below, match the methods used for funding school districts. Only two states use daily attendance figures rather than enrollment. 20 Delaware is one of the these states, but because the state formula uses pupil enrollment to determine staff counts, it is included in Table 3 as an ADM/enrollment state. 36 Overview of Charter School Funding TABLE 3 Basis of Student Count for Charter School Funding Enrollment/ADM Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois,1 Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Wisconsin 1 Attendance/ADA California, Texas School district funding in Illinois is based on ADA. ADA funding raises important equity issues because poor and at-risk students generally have higher rates of absenteeism than other students. Charter schools with disadvantaged children are likely to generate fewer dollars than average schools. In California and Texas, the ADA equity problem is offset to some degree by extra funding for at-risk students. In Texas, for example, compensatory education students generate 20 percent extra funding compared to regular students. Assume in a particular school that compensatory students attend school 80 percent of the time and that regular students have a 95 percent attendance average. This would mean that the funding per compensatory pupil (1.2 x .80 or 96 percent) is just one percentage point greater than the funding generated for regular pupils (95 percent). While the at-risk funding helps negate the ADA problem, it leaves no money for the extra educational needs of at-risk students. The penalty imposed on at-risk charter schools by basing funding on attendance is not a problem unique to charter schools. All school districts serving disadvantaged children in these states face the same problem. Illinois funds school districts based on ADA but funds charter schools based on membership, thus mitigating the negative effects of ADA funding on charter schools for at-risk children.21 Grade Level Funding Adjustments A number of states use weights in their funding formula to reflect the higher costs of education at some grade levels. A higher weight for primary students could reflect an emphasis on early education and class size reduction. More commonly, states give high school students more weight because they require a grea...
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