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federal programs. 144 Appendix Massachusetts Funding Based on School District Characteristics: Despite an equalization formula, Massachusetts has substantial spending inequities based on property wealth and tax effort.
High-spending wealthy districts generate more funding for charter schools than poor
school districts. In addition, charter schools inherit most of the funding that goes with the
enrollment characteristics of the sending school districts whether or not the charter schools
have the same kind of enrollment. These categories include: (1) preschool, (2)
kindergarten, (3) elementary, (4) middle school, (5) high school, (6) special education, (7)
bilingual, (8) vocational and (9) low-income. State foundation funding also contains a
factor intended to compensate for the difference in wage levels around the state. As
described below, some kinds of special education and preschool spending are subtracted
from the tuition calculation.
Grade Level Funding Adjustments: Although school districts generate funding based on grade level, charter school funding does not distinguish between grades. Some evidence
indicates that charter high schools or middle schools may be underfunded compared to
regular high schools and elementary charter schools. In six cities studied by KPMG-Peat
Marwick (1998), high schools spent between $500 (Worcester) and $1,500 (Springfield
and Lawrence) more per pupil at the high school level. The state has chartered schools in a
way that ensures a balance among elementary and high school charter schools, thus
minimizing the impact of the incentive to operate elementary charter schools.
School District Transition Aid: To help ease the financial loss of enrollment shifts to charter schools, and to assist school districts in paying charter school tuition for students who had
been in private schools, school districts are partially “reimbursed” for tuition increases.
“Tuition increase” is the aggregate increase in tuition generated by all students attending
charter schools. The reimbursement is 100 percent during the first year in which the
increase occurs, 60 percent in the second year, and 40 percent in the third year. This
transition aid amounted to more than $2,000 per enrolled charter school pupil in 1998-99.
Special Education: Except for federal funding, the cost of private placements for severely handicapped students, hospital teaching and special education preschool, all of the special
education spending supported by state and local revenues is passed on to charter schools in
the tuition calculation. Therefore, charter schools get most resources devoted to the special
education in the sending districts regardless of the actual number of special needs students
or the severity of their handicaps. State law exempts charter schools from paying for
private placements, and special education preschool (prototypes 502.5 and greater). This
system works equitably if charter school special education enrollment approximates school
district populations. The effe...
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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