Venturesome Capital- State Charter School Finance Systems

E charter schools get the average expenditure per

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Unformatted text preview: ct on the education offerings for other students. The funding system may also be part of the problem. States that provide significant extra funding for high-cost children help to protect charter schools from this financial burden. States relying only on an average funding concept (i.e., charter schools get the average expenditure per pupil regardless of the number of special needs students and the cost of their disabilities) fail to protect charter schools from the financial burden of high-cost children. Some states use other strategies. Pennsylvania has a separate contingency fund for ultra-high-cost special education students to which all of it its public schools have recourse. Massachusetts specifically excludes charter schools from paying for high-cost private and residential placements. Many charter schools in Colorado pay the school district the average cost of district special education and in return get district special education services including protection against high-cost special education students. In a sense, this system “insures” charter schools from high special education costs. Charter schools also argue that they provide special education both more efficiently in regular education settings and with less harm to students. Categorizing students for funding purposes, it is argued, constitutes a “labeling” of students that may result in low expectations and low self esteem or lead to increased regulatory requirements (Finn et al. 1996). Some parents choosing charter schools seek to escape or remove special education labels, or come to the charter school for an alternative to services provided in the previous 41 Venturesome Capital: State Charter School Finance Systems school. The obvious merits of these arguments need to be weighed against possible abuses. Offering no specific special education program, or one specifically limited to inclusion in regular classroom settings, may deter students with disabilities from enrolling in charter schools and may diminish needed services to charter school students with special needs. Charter schools also maintain that federal and state special education funding is insufficient to provide a panoply of special education services. School districts, however, face exactly the same problem. In most states, if not all, special education expenditures exceed state and federal funding specifically designated for special education. General operating revenues make up for the resulting revenue gap. In Wisconsin, for example, state categorical aid funds about 40 percent of special education costs. In California, the state funds about 50 percent. Some analysts view the use of general operating revenue for special education as a transfer from regular education programs to special education, but there is nothing inherently wrong or inequitable about funding special education from general revenues. It means only that federal and state special education revenue streams fail to fund all special education costs. Low-income and At-risk S...
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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.

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