This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: k children compared to state averages.7 Wolfram’s calculations
showed no statistical correlation between charter school status and such factors as perpupil expenditures for basic instruction, current operations, or the total general fund. In
effect, charter schools spend at the same level as school districts. According to Wolfram,
other studies erred due to incorrect use of financial reporting data collected by the state and 6 This conclusion may be compromised by problems with the way management companies report financial
data to the state. Charter school facility costs and payments to private contractors for instructional support are
misleadingly classified as business and administration expenditures (Wolfram, 1999).
According to the National Charter School Study (RPP, 1999), 34 percent of Michigan charter school
students qualified for federal free-lunch programs compared to the 29 percent state average. About 5 percent
of charter school students qualified for special education services compared to about 11 percent statewide.
Some argue that charter schools should be compared to surrounding school districts. Since Michigan charter
schools tend to be located near urban areas, charter school populations probably reflect student characteristics
in surrounding school districts. 13 Venturesome Capital: How States Pay for Charter Schools reported in Bulletin 1014.8 Wolfram’s study reiterates Prince’s (1999b) point that charter
school facilities, leases and payments to private contractors for instructional support are
misleadingly classified as business and administration expenditures. Wolfram suggests that
it is possible for schools to report their payments to contractors using categories consistent
with school district reporting, but that this is not happening. Wolfram also challenges the
classification of the mandatory 3 percent payment to chartering authorities as an
administrative expense for charter schools.
In Massachusetts, charter schools are financed through “tuition” or payments attached to
students from their district of residence. The KPMG-Peat Marwick (1998) study, financed
by the state legislature, reviewed charter school tuition payments, but in addressing the
intricate issues of the Massachusetts system, this study has broader implications for charter
school finance. KPMG-Peat Marwick found that the tuition calculation includes about twothirds of school district capital expenditures. KPMG-Peat Marwick also found that charter
schools served fewer high-cost special education students. Yet the tuition calculation
system provided funds as if charter schools served the same high-cost special education
population as the sending school districts. Nevertheless, the study argued that simplicity
was an advantage in the current tuition calculation. The report also observed that charter
schools were not required to submit financial data to the state in the same uniform
accounting format as school districts, which complicated the analysis.
In a paper prepared for the Colorado Association of School Executives, Berk, Augenblick
and Myers (1998) studied three charter schools and the districts that chartered them. The
impact of a charter school on a school dist...
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