Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists
Meaghan Batdorff, Larry Maloney, Jay May, Daniela Doyle, Bryan Hassel
Ball State University
This long-anticipated report reaffirms a sad reality: Charter schools are woefully underfunded compared to their district counterparts. It updates and expands upon an earlier Fordham report that used 2002-03 data. This one examines 2006-07 funding across twenty-five states, capturing more than 90 percent of the country’s charter school population. It also deploys a more finely-tuned methodology. On average, charter schools receive $2,247 fewer than district schools in the same state, a 19.2 percent difference in per-pupil revenue, a slightly narrower gap than four years before. Yet funding disparities widened over the same period in a handful of “deep dive” districts to the tune of $3,727 or 27.8 percent. Disparities ranged from just 5 percent in Indiana to a whopping 41 percent in D.C. For an average 250-student charter in the nation’s capital, that’s a gap of over $3 million. District disparities ranged from 4.5 percent in Albuquerque to 50.5 percent in Newark. The study also includes detailed state profiles and extensive slicing and dicing by funding sources (local, state, federal etc.), grades served, student demographics, and more. It’s a very valuable, albeit rather dispiriting, addition to our understanding of the charter cosmos within the U.S. K-12 universe. Read it here.
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