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averaged across all grade levels. Charter schools aside, per-capita tuition plays a key role
in special education funding when students are served by another school district. The
tuition calculation starts with total district expenditures and then subtracts about 100
specific expenditure or revenue items, including revenue from other districts, adult
education, preschool, most state categorical aid, special education, federal funding,
community services, school lunch, capital expenditures, debt costs, student activities, local
fees and revenues, and transportation.
Grade Level Funding: The general state aid formula for school districts gives students in middle schools 10 percent more funding; and in grades 9 to 12, students garner 30 percent
more aid. Grade level weights are not a factor in the charter school tuition calculation. The
absence of grade level funding adjustments could lead to overfunding elementary charter
schools and underfunding charter high schools if both elementary and charter high schools
receive the same funding—as in Chicago in 1997-98. A system of separate K-8 elementary
6 The initial charter school legislation called for funding in the range of 95 percent to 105 percent of percapita tuition. Chicago interpreted the law as allowing differential funding for different types of students. In
particular, Chicago withheld special education funds. The most recent legislation expanded the range from 75
percent to 125 percent, which allows greater funding for specialized charter schools serving more costly
students. Appendix 133 Venturesome Capital: State Charter School Finance Systems and 9-12 high school districts exists in many parts of the state, which renders grade level
weights irrelevant in those districts. The 75 percent to 125 percent range of funding
flexibility could be used by K-12 unit districts to differentiate between elementary and
high schools, or provide more funding for specialized schools whose higher costs may not
be fully funded by state and federal categorical programs.
Funding Based on School District Characteristics: Despite an equalization formula that substantially improved in 1997, Illinois is a state with major spending inequities based on
property wealth and tax effort. High-spending wealthy school districts generate more
funding for all their students, including those in charter schools, than impoverished school
districts generate. In 1998-99, per-capita tuition averaged about $5,500 in elementary
districts, $4,900 in K-12 districts, and $8,900 in high school districts. The lowest percapita tuition in Illinois is about $3,000 in elementary districts, $3,300 in K-12 districts,
and $4,500 in high school districts. The highest per-capita tuition in Illinois is about
$18,000 in an elementary district, about $10,000 in a K-12 district, and $16,000 in a high
Special Education: The contract between a charter school and the school district delineates special education funding and services. Chicago generally retains all special education
services and centrally funds and provides personnel and resourc...
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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