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Unformatted text preview: ing (including transportation), but school districts provide transportation at no
In a similar vein, a number of states require that school district revenue typically used for
transportation go to charter schools while not mandating that charter schools provide
transportation. In these states, transportation is typically a service that school districts are
expected to pay for entirely out of their general state aid, such as Louisiana and Michigan.
Some states provide dedicated transportation funds to charter schools, but then do not
require them to use the funding for transportation, as in Arizona. Delaware has tightened
its law in this regard, although it still provides transportation funds based on membership,
not on the number of students transported. This means that a school providing limited
transportation services (Delaware charter schools must provide transportation) would have
a windfall, and a school providing more comprehensive services might have to supplement
transportation out of its general operating revenues.
In Arizona, state-authorized charter schools get $174 per member (not pupils transported)
for transportation. District-authorized charter schools claim reimbursement for miles that
parents drive their children to school. The charter school gets $1.95 or $1.59 per mile
(depending on the ratio of pupils to route miles), pays parents 10 cents to 25 cents a mile
and is allowed to use the difference for other expenses of the school. Because there are so
many miles involved when parents drive their own kids to school, district-authorized
charter schools generate hundreds of dollars in extra revenue per pupil. For example, the
Arizona Joint Legislative Budget Committee has computed that one charter school gets
$12,080 per pupil for transportation. Another gets $5,668. The average cost of
transportation per member (not students transported) for district-authorized charter schools
for 1998-99 was $2,144. This unintended “loophole” arises from provisions in the Arizona
transportation law intended for isolated school districts, which are allowed to pay parents
to bring their children to a bus route. The Arizona Legislature has had difficulty closing the
loophole because it is the way school districts are funded; but after 1999-2000, districtauthorized charter schools will get the same $174 per member for transportation that other
charter schools get.29 State-authorized charter schools have not benefited from lucrative
transportation funding, but district-authorized charter schools do not get the small district
weights in the general state aid and facilities funding formula benefiting most stateauthorized charter schools.
28 State-sponsored charter schools in Connecticut get approximately the state average general operating
revenues and therefore receive approximately the state average transportation funding paid from general
operating revenues. Charter school students residing in the same district in which the charter school is located
are also entitled to district-provided transportation.
Another suggestion for reforming the loophole is to reimburse charter sch...
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- Spring '09