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Most states provide more funding for the higher costs of educating at-risk students. While
states define at-risk status in various ways, poverty is generally the major determinant.
Most commonly, enrollment in free- and reduced-price lunch programs is used to
determine at-risk status. Some states use qualification for federal programs such as Aid to
Families with Dependent Children to define poverty.
Some argue that charter schools “cream” the easiest students to educate. To prevent
creaming based on income, Louisiana mandates that charter schools have a proportion of
at-risk students that is at least 85 percent of the proportion of at-risk students within the
district as a whole. Colorado, Illinois and Texas give preferences in granting charters to
those seeking to serve at-risk populations, and Texas has developed a large number of
charter schools for at-risk children. However, little of the discussion about the selectivity
issue centers on funding. Additional funding attached to at-risk youth may create powerful
incentives for potential charter holders to create programs serving these children. Without
extra funding, charter schools have less incentive to serve high-cost students. A great deal
of variation exists in the degree to which charter schools receive extra state and local funds
specifically for the education of at-risk youth, as shown in Table 6. 42 Overview of Charter School Funding TABLE 6 State Funding for At-risk or Low-income Students
Yes Negotiated or Allocated
by School district No Alaska, Arizona, California,
Delaware, Florida, Illinois,1
Minnesota, New Jersey,
Texas Colorado,2,3 Georgia,
Kansas,3 New Mexico,3
Wisconsin Connecticut, District of
Carolina, 5 Pennsylvania, 5
Rhode Island5 1 Yes, for Chicago charter schools. 2 Charter schools can negotiate for more than 100 percent of average district funding. 3 At-risk students are weighted in state aid formula generating funds for the school district. 4 No, for schools chartered by school districts; yes for a few state-authorized schools. 5 Charter schools receive school district average for at-risk or low-income students as part of base funding. In Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New Mexico and other states that leave funding decisions
up to negotiations between school districts and charter schools, more dollars may follow an
at-risk child, but this extra funding is not guaranteed. States such as Hawaii, Kansas and
Wisconsin may provide extra funding for at-risk students through the normal school
district budget allocation procedure. Most of the other states that provide more funding for
at-risk or low-income students use a weighting system. In Texas, at-risk students receive
an extra weighting of 20 percent. In Michigan, the additional weight is 11 percent. Other
states fund low-income students as a categorical program. New Jersey, for example,
provides $436 per at-risk student. Minnesota provides at-risk funding that is...
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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