Unformatted text preview: cludes lottery funds, COLA and economic impact aid, funds for
which charter schools may also qualify. 52 Overview of Charter School Funding has to pass through the school district to be considered by the state. This has been a source
of concern, because some charter holders feel that school district officials will favor
applications from other public schools in the district.
Charter schools in some states capture a share of the host district’s categorical funding
whether or not they provide the specific programs generating that funding. North Carolina,
Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island all include state-funded categorical programs in the
calculation of per-pupil base funding. Other states disqualify charter schools from
receiving funding through certain categorical programs. Minnesota prohibits its charter
schools from applying for grants for which a local levy is required, such as integration,
community and adult education programs.31
Whether charter schools should be required to use categorical funding for the specific
program purposes of the funding stream raises both philosophical and financial questions.
The crux of the issue is the trade-off between flexibility for charter schools and the desire
of states to see that particular educational priorities are addressed. Categorical dollars
generally come with strings, and schools using this funding usually are expected to meet
certain goals such as installation of new computer software or the provision of mentors for
new teachers. In many instances, categorical funding promotes the redirection of other
school funds to a specific program. Yet, the charter school concept is generally antithetical
to the rules and regulations that go with categorical funding. In addition, the reporting
requirements for grant applications might be onerous for small charter schools operating
with minimal administrative support. 31 These programs amount to less than 2 percent of total state and local funding (Mueller et al., 1995). In
1999 the law was changed to give charter schools access to the state share. 53 Start-Up Assistance CHAPTER 5 Start-up Assistance
Many studies identify inadequate start-up funding as a barrier for charter school creation.
Some of the oldest charter schools obtained no start-up funding from state or federal
sources. The advent of federal planning and implementation funds alleviated some of the
concern over start-up funding. Despite substantial federal financial assistance, the most
recent national survey of charter schools (RPP, 2000) reports that the lack of start-up funds
remains the number one implementation difficulty of start-up charter schools, followed by
inadequate operating funds, lack of planning time and inadequate facilities.
Even in an otherwise well-conceived and fairly funded charter school finance system, the
absence of start-up funding for textbooks, computers and equipment quickly disadvantages
charter schools. On the other hand, it may be smart to require prospective char...
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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