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Unformatted text preview: nded to expose public education to the discipline of the
marketplace; (2) other advocates envisioned a system made up of only the most capable
institutions; (3) opponents wanted to diminish the chance of success; and (4) others simply
failed to consider the cash requirements of start-up.
Part of another paper on Massachusetts charter schools, by Anthony, Scarpati and
Bukowick (1996), described charter school financing as “eclectic” because it involved
tuition from local sending districts, state start-up monies, federal Goals 2000 funding and
private donations. The paper highlighted the financial impact school districts faced when
losing students to charter schools or paying for students moving from private schools to
charter schools. It describes the Massachusetts provision of temporary compensation for
school districts after they lose students to charter schools.
An evaluation of the Wisconsin charter school program (Wisconsin Legislative Audit
Bureau, 1998) found that charter schools were equitably funded when compared to host
districts. Wisconsin has dependent charter schools chartered by local districts, although a
newer law, affecting only Milwaukee, provides for independently chartered schools in that
city. Complete budget and expenditure information was not available for most charter
schools because school districts’ budgeting and cost accounting systems typically do not
reflect total costs incurred by individual schools. However, available information indicates
general education charter schools spent an average of $4,458 per enrolled pupil during the
1997-98 school year, compared to $4,918 per pupil for all schools in their districts. Charter
schools serving students at risk of failing or dropping out spent $5,966 per pupil, which
reflects the higher cost associated with educating children who require greater attention
and special services in order to be successful in school.
A study of voucher and charter schools’ potential financial impact on the Milwaukee
public schools (Moore, 1998) identified the complexities of the revenue shifts. The
revenue outflow to charter schools is mitigated, in part, because charter school students are
counted as enrollees in the regular public school system for state aid purposes. Thus, the
per-pupil wealth of the district does not increase as charter school students leave,
preventing a further loss of funds.
Special education has been a concern of a number of researchers (e.g., Finn et al. 1996),
mainly echoing charter operators’ fears that a high-cost student could undermine a small
charter school’s financial position. A recent study of the special education practices of
Massachusetts charter schools employing for-profit management contractors has important
finance implications (Zollers and Ramanathan, 1998).10 The study found a number of
practices designed to discourage enrollment of students with expensive individual
education programs. Companies profit because Massachusetts allocates special education
revenues as part of the base funding that follows each student to a ch...
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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