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Unformatted text preview: ng from $220 per at-risk pupil in some states, up to nearly $900 in one state.
(See Table 7.) Seven states base funding for at-risk students on school district averages,
rather than the specific at-risk population in the charter school. This system discourages
charter schools from serving at-risk students. Several states grant preference to charter
school applicants seeking to serve at-risk children. While this preference increases the
enrollment of at-risk children in charter schools, it does not ensure adequate funding. 2 Executive Summary § Charter schools are eligible for federal and state categorical program funding to help
meet the needs of high-cost students (e.g., Title I or special education), or to promote
specific educational programs (e.g., technology literacy or Goals 2000). (See Table 1.)
Excluding programs for special education students, at-risk students and transportation,
only four states provided “other categorical funding” exceeding $50 per pupil. (See Table
13.) A few states average categorical program funding into base per-pupil funding even if
charter schools do not provide qualifying programs.
§ Federal planning and implementation grants provide several hundred dollars per pupil
during a charter school’s first two or three years of operation. (See Table 15.) Nine states
provide additional start-up support for charter school programs through either grants or
revolving loans. (See Table 14.)
§ Transportation is a very complicated funding issue. Most states either provide funding
comparable to school districts or mandate that school districts provide service at no cost.
(See Tables 11 and 12.) Four states provide transportation funding for charter schools, but
allow the funding to be used for other purposes.
§ In California and Texas, charter school funding is based on daily attendance, as
opposed to enrollment. This policy discourages the creation of charter schools serving lowincome and other at-risk students. School districts located in low-income areas suffer the
same financial deficit.
Amount and Range of Funding for Charter Schools. Our study created three
hypothetical charter schools in each state to demonstrate the range of funding within a state
and standardize comparisons across states. The charter school finance laws, regulations
and administrative practices in each state were applied to each of the three hypothetical
charter schools to illustrate base funding, student weightings, school/district size
adjustments, the role of negotiations, special education funding, at-risk funding,
transportation funding and federal funding. The appendix contains the detailed breakdown
of revenue for each state for the three hypothetical charter schools.
Basic Elementary School—an elementary school with no at-risk or special needs
students located in a school district with state average spending, wealth and taxing
— Half of the 23 states and two cities would receive at least $4,600 per pupil from all
— Total funding would fall below $4,000 per pupil in fi...
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- Spring '09