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Unformatted text preview: cal funding, and there is significant evidence that charter
schools for at-risk children have been successful in obtaining competitively awarded
funding. Other charter schools may have difficulty working through school districts for
their share of categorical funds, or may find it not worth the effort to seek money from
small categorical programs. Federal Funding
In addition to federal start-up funding considered separately in Chapter 5, charter schools
are eligible for most federal funding including programs for compensatory education,
education reform, special education and bilingual education. The calculations in our report
assume that charter schools get their fair share of federal funds either from a school district
or by qualifying on their own as if they were their own school district. The GAO reports
discussed at the end of Chapter 2 indicate that, for the most part, charter schools are
receiving federal funds for which they are eligible but that some barriers still remain. One
problem has been that in many instances, charter schools are unable to qualify for Title I
and special education funding during their first year of operation. Legislation enacted in
1998 and regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education the following year are
expected to rectify this problem.
The federal aid calculations for the three hypothetical charter schools are described in
Table 1. The per-pupil amounts apply to total enrollment, not just the students generating
the aid. Title I qualifying students, for example, can generate over $500 each, and special
education students also each get several hundred dollars. It is assumed that Title I includes
only the appropriation designated for pass-through to school districts. Special education
aid corresponds to 75 percent of the basic state grant (the other 25 percent remains under
the control of state plans). Infant and toddler special education, preschool special
education, Medicaid and vocational rehabilitation funding are not included because few
charter schools are likely to enroll students served by these federal programs. “Other”
federal funding includes only the following programs: comprehensive school reform, class
size reduction, education improvement, Eisenhower professional development, Goals 2000
and the technology literacy challenge fund. Funding will vary based on a number of factors
including student population characteristics.
The majority of the federal aid follows pupils with specific characteristics and requires
schools to offer specific programs or provide qualifying services. Consequently, the three
hypothetical charter schools, constructed to illustrate how state charter school funding
works generate different federal funding.
§ All schools get the same amount of “other” aid.
§ Basic elementary charter schools only get “other” federal aid.
§ Middle cost charter schools are assumed to get the average federal aid for Title I,
bilingual, special education.
§ At-risk upper grade charter schools are assumed to get double the average aid for
Title I, bilingual and special education. 25 Venturesome Capital: State Charter School Finance Systems Charter schools for at-risk students sometimes receive federal funding through competitive
federal grants, which is not reflected in the tables.
TABLE 1 Average 1998-99 Federal Aid P...
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- Spring '09