This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: special education services needed by children, but they are also responsible for assessment.
By controlling assessment, these districts in these states have an assurance of how the costs 39 Venturesome Capital: State Charter School Finance Systems will be determined. If charter schools provide services in these two states, school districts
provide funding based on actual costs and therefore the disabilities of specific students.
Overall, Illinois school districts pay charter schools 75 percent to 125 percent of average
costs. Much of the funding differential is based on whether a charter school provides
special education services on its own or relies on the school district. Similarly, Colorado
school districts negotiate with charter schools over a funding level that ranges from 80
percent to 120 percent of district spending.22 Charter schools often get less than 100
percent funding if they attract fewer special education students, or if the school district
provides special education services at no cost. Fieldwork and more research are necessary
to determine the degree to which special education funding matches specific pupil needs in
The other end of the continuum includes states such as Louisiana, Massachusetts,
Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Rhode Island. Special education funding is based not
only on host school district special education costs or revenue, but also on the
characteristics of the host district’s special education population, as opposed to special
education students actually enrolled in the charter school.23 These systems should work
perfectly if charter school special education populations exactly mirror host school district
special education populations. But as the number of special education students and the
severity of their disabilities deviate from school district averages, the potential emerges for
overfunding (for charter schools with low special needs populations) and underfunding (for
charter schools serving high numbers of special education students).
North Carolina and Pennsylvania base revenue for every special education student on the
average expenditure (Pennsylvania) or revenue (North Carolina) per special education
pupil in the student’s district of residence. Thus, every special education student in a
charter school gets district-average funding regardless of the cost of services or the severity
of the disability. This funding strategy provides charter schools with a strong financial
incentive to enroll special education students, but to enroll those with the least costly
disabilities. The finance systems in Louisiana, Massachusetts, Milwaukee and Rhode
Island create an even stronger financial incentive to avoid special education altogether.24 In
these states, charter school funding is based on the host school districts’ total operating
costs (including special education) divided by district enrollment (including special
education). No matter how many special education students a charter school serves, it
receives special education funding as part of its per-pupil allotment as if it were serving a
special needs population exactly matching the school district average.
22 Colorado mandates...
View Full Document
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