Location, Location, Location: How Would a High-Performing Charter School Network Fare in Different States?
This report by Bellwether Education Partners investigated the financial feasibility of a highly successful charter management company, Aspire Public Schools (California), if it were to operate in 22 different states and the District of Columbia.
The 23 places, including Ohio, were selected because they already had operating charter schools and “were recently included in a comprehensive analysis of charter school finances.” Previous research found that California charter schools fared worse than district counterparts, receiving 9.2 percent less funding per student. Building on this research, this brief assumes that Aspire would receive the average level of charter funding per student in each state. It also adjusted for state-specific labor, facility, and operating costs, which vary by location. They found that Aspire’s native California’s school-funding model, along with projected educational and building expenses in the state, created some of the harshest financial conditions for charter school operation nationwide. In 18 of the 23 states studied, Aspire would have had a greater operating margin.
How would Aspire have fared in Ohio? Not very well. The state’s poor relative ranking in this cost-analysis, only $38 per student operating margin, reveals tough conditions here that limit incentives for high-performing charter school networks to operate or migrate here. Add this report to the pile of evidence showing that the Buckeye State needs to address charter-district school funding inequities. Per pupil funding for Ohio charter schools is about two-thirds of per pupil funding for traditional public schools. The state has also eliminated a $50,000 grant that was designed to help charter schools with start-up costs.
Location, Location: How Would a
High-Performing Charter School Network Fare in Different States?
Chris Lozier and Andrew J. Rotherham
Bellwether Education Partners
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