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and facilities including science labs. 21 In effect, charter schools receive funding based only on the overall attendance rate of the school district. In
Texas and California, charter school funding also varies with the charter schools’ own attendance figures. 37 Venturesome Capital: State Charter School Finance Systems TABLE 4 Grade Level Funding Adjustments for Charter Schools
Subject to Negotiation Varies By Grade Level No Grade Level
Adjustment Colorado,1 Georgia,
Kansas,1 Wisconsin1 Arizona, California,2
Delaware, District of
Minnesota, New Jersey, New
Mexico, South Carolina Alaska, Connecticut,
Milwaukee, North Carolina,
Rhode Island, Texas 1 Funding formula for school districts does not use grade level weights. 2 The state class size reduction program, which provides extra funding for grades K-2. Grade level weightings for school districts do not necessarily mean that charter schools
receive commensurate funding on a per-pupil basis. For example, Massachusetts supplies
school districts with more funds for high school students, but charter school students
generate only the school district average funding regardless of grades actually served. In
effect, charter high school students generate less funding than students in traditional high
schools. Conversely, students in charter elementary schools generate more funding than do
students in traditional elementary schools. In fact, the 10 states that do not use grade level
weights probably overfund charter elementary schools and underfund charter high schools.
Some states, such as California, Illinois and Massachusetts, have separate elementary and
secondary school districts as well as K-12 districts. This arrangement obviates the need for
grade level adjustments in elementary and high school districts.
A charter school funding system based on negotiation also offers an opportunity for
appropriate grade level adjustments. In Illinois, where charter schools receive 75 percent to
125 percent of school district spending, charter high schools in K-12 districts could be
funded above the 100 percent level, while elementary schools might be funded at less than
100 percent. This practice does not occur in Chicago, however, where most charter schools
are located. Similar negotiated arrangements could be reached in Colorado.
One of the most sensitive topics in school finance is special education funding. Systemic
reforms of special education finance have been made or considered in almost every state in
the past decade (Parrish and Wolman, 1998). Underlying this turmoil is the need for school
districts to pay for a significant share of special education costs from general operating
funds. In effect, districts could be viewed as diverting base funding from general education
students in order to meet their underfunded special education mandates. Charter school
special education funding needs to be analyzed in this framework.
State special education funding systems for charter schools vary along a continuum in the
extent to which funding matches the specific educational needs of special education
students actually enrolled in 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