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Unformatted text preview: ble for their fiscal responsibilities than for their academic ones. Charter Schools and Federal Funding
Federal involvement in charter schools has grown substantially in the last several years,
which has raised a number of issues. Three General Accounting Office (GAO) reports
pertain to charter school finance issues.
In Charter Schools: Issues Affecting Access to Federal Funds (U.S. GAO, 1997), the GAO
noted that Title I funds for low-income children and special education funds are allocated
to schools that meet established federal, state and local demographic criteria. Although
charter schools treated as school districts avoid having to meet additional criteria used to
11 For a critique of the UCLA study see Premack (1998). None of the financial issues raised in our review of
the UCLA study are directly addressed in Premack’s review. 19 Venturesome Capital: How States Pay for Charter Schools distribute funds within school districts, these charter schools were no more likely to have
received Title I and special education funding than were the charter schools that are treated
as components of existing school districts.12 Barriers included a lack of enrollment and
student eligibility data to submit to states before funding allocation decisions are made,
and the time and costs involved in applying for such funds given the amount of funds
available. A similar GAO report Charter Schools: Federal Funding Available but Barriers
Exist (U.S. GAO 1998a) found that most charter school operators believed that Title I and
federal special education funds are fairly allocated, but that there are some barriers to
obtaining funds. Recommendations included more state and district planning to help
ensure that federal program resources are directed to eligible students enrolled in charter
In a third report, released in 1998, Charter Schools: Recent Experiences in Accessing
Federal Funds (U.S. GAO 1998b), the GAO found that slightly more than half of the
schools surveyed received fiscal year 1996 start-up grants ranging from $7,000 to more
than $84,000. The average grant was $36,000. About two-fifths of the charter schools the
GAO surveyed received Title I funds, and slightly more than half of the schools received
either direct federal special education funds or federally funded special education services. 12 Federal funding is insufficient to provide Title I programs for all eligible children in most school districts.
Districts develop plans to ration funding. Typically, funding goes to schools with the highest concentration of
poor children. Under most plans, elementary schools are more likely to receive funds than high schools. 20 Methodology CHAPTER 3 Methodology
Like many other studies, our report analyzes and summarizes charter school finance
provisions in state charter school laws and regulations. It also takes the next step by
examining the procedures and “practices” developed by state finance officials that help
determine the amount of funding and when that funding gets to the schools. Our report,
however, does not systematically address...
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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