This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: rict depended on district enrollment, the number
of private school students transferring to charter schools, whether the charter school used
an existing facility, and the number of schools in the district from which the charter school
drew pupils. The authors estimated that it could require as much as a 30 percent reduction
in the revenue provided to a charter school for a district to fully recoup losses, with the
amount depending primarily on school district size and charter school size. Another
important finding: It costs more per pupil to run a small charter school than to run a school
district. To improve efficiency, charter schools opt to purchase services from either school
districts or private entities. The Colorado study recommended that school districts receive
funds as if their charter schools were school districts in order to get funding in line with
funding that small school districts in the state receive. With added funding, the charter
schools would be in a better position to buy back services from the host school district.
WestEd’s (1998) evaluation of 13 Los Angeles charter schools considered finance issues,
especially for the three independent charter schools that operate an outside the district
structure. The independent charter schools were better funded primarily because they
qualified for revenues targeted at high concentrations of economically disadvantaged and
special needs students. The study found that independent charter schools used their budget
flexibility to implement changes quickly. One limitation of this study is that it compared
independent charter schools to dependent charter schools, not to regular public schools.
8 Information on Form B, the financial report school districts and charter schools file with the state, is
available at http://www.state.mi.us/mde/forms/. Bulletin 1014, which summarizes information from Form B
is posted at http://www.state.mi.us/mde/reports/B1014/index.html 14 Research on Charter School Finance Because the financial practices of regular public schools were not examined, some
practices described as innovations in charter school finance may actually be common
practices in some other public schools. For example, the food service programs in two
independent charter schools were privately contracted at virtually no cost (about $19 per
student per year at each school), and the contractor provided an array of benefits (e.g., low
contractor food prices, a nutritionist, auditing for compliance with federal school lunch
funding). Savings were used for capital improvement. However, food service programs in
most school districts are financially self-supporting, provide the same services as a
contractor and often yield “profits” to finance capital improvements.9 Furthermore, school
districts regularly contract with private companies for food service. Analysis of Finance Policy
An Education Commission of the States policy brief (Bierlein and Fulton, 1996) illustrates
the general thinking on the subject of ch...
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