Measuring Up to the Model



weight: 4 | possible total: 16

18. Equitable Operational Funding and Equal Access to All State and Federal Categorical Funding

18A. Equitable operational funding statutorily driven.

18B. Equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding, and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

18C. Funding for transportation similar to school districts.

How well do states’ laws align to this component of the model law?

State

Charter Law Description

Score

Alaska

Alaska law includes none of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

0

Arizona

Arizona law calculates a base support level for each charter school and these funds flow directly to charter schools for those approved by non-district entities. For those approved by a local district board, it flows through that district.

Arizona law provides equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

For charter schools authorized by local school boards, the law allows the district to provide transportation. For other charter schools, the law does not provide state transportation aid.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Arizona charter schools were receiving on average $7,597 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $9,576 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $1,979 per pupil - or 20.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some continued significant inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

Arkansas

Per Arkansas law, a conversion charter school receives funds equal to the amount apportioned by the district from state and local revenue per average daily membership.

Per Arkansas law, an open enrollment charter school receives funds equal to the amount that a public school would receive, as well as any other funding that the public charter school is entitled to receive under law. In reality, traditional districts are allowed to levy mileages (i.e., property taxes), and as a result open enrollment charter schools receive 18-23% less funding per pupil than traditional district schools.

In reference to transportation, Arkansas law provides charter schools the same per pupil base amount for transportation as public school districts.

4

California

California is in the midst of changing how it funds all public schools, including public charter schools.

Previously the law provided for charter schools to receive 100% of state and district operational funding, based on enrollment, in the form of a general purpose entitlement and a categorical block grant.

In 2013, California enacted a completely new funding formula for public education that similarly impacts public charter schools and school districts. What exactly this new system will look like is still dependent on regulations that must be adopted by the state board of education this year. As further details come to light, California’s score may change.

California law requires all special education funds to flow through an intermediate unit (SELPA) that receives special education funds for all LEAs in that SELPA.

A national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010) found that California charter schools were receiving on average $9,987 per pupil, while districts would have received an estimated $10,995 per pupil to educate those same students – a gap of $1,008 per pupil, or 9.2%. This comparison includes all sources of funding.

12

Colorado

Colorado law provides that charter schools are entitled to 100% of district per-pupil operating revenues for each pupil they enroll and 100% of the district per-pupil online funding for each online pupil they enroll, minus administrative costs up to a limit. However, the law does not require districts to share locally raised mill levy override funds with charter schools, which average $750 per pupil statewide.

Colorado law provides that charter schools are eligible for their proportionate share of federal and state categorical funding. In practice, there are some implementation problems with this provision where funds are passed through district LEAs.

The law provides that charter schools that meet state reimbursement criteria are eligible for transportation funding on the same basis as school districts.

A national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010) found that Colorado charter schools were receiving on average $8,306 per pupil, while districts would have received $9,827 per pupil to educate those same students – a gap of $1,521 per pupil, or 15.5%. This comparison includes all sources of funding. The statewide funding gap is primarily attributable to a) charters’ lack of access to local funds through mill levy overrides, and b) the fact that charter schools statewide (though not in urban districts) serve a lower percentage of Title I students and thus receive less Title I funding.

8

Connecticut

For local charter schools, state law provides that the local or regional board of education of the school district in which the local charter school is located is responsible for the financial support of such local charter school at a level that is at least equal to the product of the per pupil cost for the prior fiscal year, less the reimbursement pursuant to state law for the current fiscal year, and the number of students attending such local charter school in the current fiscal year.

For state charter schools, Connecticut law provides that the funding comes directly from a separate state appropriation, with no local contribution. The annual per-pupil amount is specified in statute as follows: $10,500 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, and $11,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015 and each fiscal year thereafter.

Connecticut law provides that charter schools are eligible for additional categorical federal and state funds.

For transportation, Connecticut law provides that the school district in which the charter school is located must provide transportation services for charter students who reside in that district unless the charter school makes other arrangements for such transportation. It also allows school districts to provide transportation for those residing outside the district and be reimbursed for the reasonable costs of such transportation.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Connecticut charter schools were receiving on average $12,631 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $16,476 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $3,845 per pupil - or 23.3% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals significant inequities exist both for operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues). Recent funding changes will reduce this gap.

8

Delaware

Delaware law provides that charter schools are funded through the same funding formula used for districts, with some exceptions.

Delaware law provides funding for charter school transportation at 75% of the average cost per student for transporting students within the vocational district in which the charter school is located.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Delaware charter schools were receiving on average $9,990 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $13,655 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $3,665 per pupil - or 26.8% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for operational, categorical, and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

District of Columbia

The law requires that similarly situated charter school students and district students be funded uniformly under the uniform per-pupil funding formula. This provision applies only to operating funding from the District’s general fund. However, the school district receives significant additional operating funds through other city and federal agencies that charter schools cannot access.

The law entitles charter schools to their share of entitlement funding pursuant to formula.

The law provides that charter school students are eligible for reduced fares on DC public transportation to the same extent as district students. It specifies that eligible special education students are entitled to state-funded special education transportation (In DC, only special education students receive transportation from the school district).

A national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010) found that DC charter schools were receiving $17,525 per pupil while the school district received $29,808 per pupil --- a difference of $12,283 or 41.2 percent. This comparison includes all sources of funding. The study attributes the funding disparity primarily to a) facilities funding inequity, and b) charters’ lack of access to substantial federal and city funding that benefits the school district. (See component #19 for information on capital funding.)

0

Florida

Florida law provides that charter schools should be funded the same as other public schools and that charter schools are entitled to their proportionate share of categorical program funds included in the Florida Education Finance Program, including transportation.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists), Florida charter schools were receiving on average $8,195 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $10,944 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $2,749 per pupil – or 25.1% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

Georgia

Georgia law provides that local and state boards must treat a start-up charter school no less favorably than other local schools with regard to funds for instruction, school administration, transportation, food services and, where feasible, building programs.

Under Georgia law, district-authorized charter schools must be included in state funding formula quality basic education (QBE) earnings, applicable QBE grants, non-QBE state grants, and applicable federal grants to the local school system.
Conversion charter schools must be treated no less favorably and the local and state boards must treat start-up charters no less favorably than other local schools with respect to funds for instruction, school administration, transportation, food services, and, where feasible, building programs.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Georgia charter schools were receiving on average $8,880 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $11,686 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $2,806 per pupil – or 24.0% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some significant inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

Hawaii

The state law includes some of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Hawaii provides operational funds to its charter schools via a line item appropriation in the state budget, using a charter schools account as a separate account in the state treasury. The law notes that the non-facility general fund per-pupil funding is to be the same as that allocated for traditional public schools. It also directs the state director of finance to transfer additional general fund money to charter schools as needed. The law also provides that charter schools are eligible for all applicable federal funding.

Although not stated in law, transportation dollars are in the “general funds” category in the state’s budget, and charters receive equal non-facility general fund money.

4

Idaho

Idaho law provides that charter schools are funded by the same state formula as district schools for operational funding, but they do not receive any local tax revenues or supplemental levies. The law limits charter school public funding to state sources and any federal dollars that schools qualify for. The state funding formula does not compensate for charters’ lack of access to local revenues.

The law entitles each charter school to receive an advance payment from the state of 25% of its estimated per-pupil funding in the summer before its first year and each subsequent year in which the school expands enrollment by at least 20 students. It also provides that subsequent payments are to be made in the same manner as for district schools.

Idaho law provides that charter schools designated as LEAs receive federal funds directly.

The law provides that charter schools must receive from the state 85% of their actual cost for student transportation, provided on a reimbursement basis in July for the previous school year.

A national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010) found that Idaho charter schools were receiving on average $6,178 per pupil, while districts would have received $8,179 per pupil to educate those students. Thus, charter schools were receiving $2,001 – or 24.5% -- less per pupil than districts would have received to educate those students. This comparison includes all sources of funding. The gap between charter and district per-pupil funding is largely attributable to charters’ lack of access to 1) local revenues, and 2) capital and debt service funds. (See component #19 for information on capital funding).

4

Illinois

Under current law, charters may receive no less than 75% and no more than 125% of what traditional public schools receive in per pupil funding.

A charter school may apply for and receive, subject to the same restrictions applicable to school districts, any grant administered by the State Board that is available for school districts.

In a recent national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Illinois charter schools were receiving on average $10,616 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $12,130 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $1,514 per pupil - or 12.5% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

8

Indiana

Indiana law grants charters access to most state and federal funding. However, there are still glaring deficiencies in the funding provided to charters, including that charters do not receive local tax levies for transportation and facilities and do not have access to the local capital funds for insurance costs.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Indiana charter schools were receiving on average $9,328 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $9,834 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $506 per pupil - or 5.1% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for operational, categorical, and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

12

Iowa

Iowa law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Iowa law provides that a charter school receives its funding from the school district that authorized it. There are no specifics in statute as to what the charter schools are to receive, leaving all details are to be worked out with the local school board as part of the charter.

Iowa law requires charter schools to comply with the same provisions for transportation as all public schools and receive funding for it as per all public schools. Also, it requires a charter application to include the means, costs, and plan for providing transportation for students attending the charter school.

0

Kansas

Kansas law includes none of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

While Kansas law does not provide funding to charter schools for transportation similar to school districts, it requires school districts to provide transportation for charter students who qualify for the free-lunch program and live 2 1/2 miles or more from the school.

0

Louisiana

Louisiana law includes some of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, but there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Louisiana law makes the funding requirements and allocation process clear for each charter type.

The law provides that those approved by local school boards receive their money through them, while those approved by the state board or a local charter authorizer receive funding directly from the state.

Statute indicates that charter schools have access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding.

It also provides some funding for transportation within the allocations provided to charter schools.

4

Maine

Maine law includes many of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, but there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Maine law provides that state and local operating funds follow each student to the public charter school attended by the student, but allows districts to retain up to 1% of the per-pupil allocation for administrative costs associated with the transfer of funds.

The law provides that funding must be transferred from the local school district of residence to the charter school. The law also provides that if a district does not comply with the law’s funding provisions, the state treasurer will deduct the necessary amount from the district’s state funds and send it to the charter school.

For transportation expenses, the law provides that the average per-pupil expense in each school administrative unit of residence must be calculated and an amount equal to a proportion, up to but not more than 100%, of that per-pupil allocation amount must be forwarded to the public charter school attended on the same basis as the per-pupil allocations for operating funds. It also provides that the percentage of that per-pupil expense must be determined by the authorizer of the public charter school and must be based on the cost of transportation services provided by the public charter school to the student.

4

Maryland

Maryland law includes some of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Maryland law requires county boards to disburse to charters an amount of county, state, and federal money that is commensurate with the amount disbursed to other public schools in the local jurisdiction.

4

Massachusetts

Massachusetts law provides that commonwealth charter schools are funded as follows: The commonwealth shall pay a tuition amount to the charter school, which shall be the sum of the tuition amounts calculated separately for each district sending students to the charter school. Tuition amounts for each sending district shall be calculated by the department of education using the formula set forth in state law, to reflect, as much as practicable, the actual per pupil spending amount that would be expended in the district if the students attended the district schools. The tuition amount shall be calculated separately for each district sending students to a charter school, and for each charter school to which a district sends students. Each district’s per pupil tuition amount for each charter school to which it sends students shall include a per pupil foundation budget component, adjusted to reflect the actual net school spending in the sending district.

Massachusetts laws and regulation provide equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding, and clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds, including for charter schools that are significantly expanding.

Massachusetts law requires school districts to provide transportation to charter school students on the same basis as it is provided to regular public school students in the district. In providing such transportation, the law requires districts to accommodate the particular school year and school day of the charter school, in accordance with state law. If a district and a charter school cannot reach agreement about the service to be provided, and if the charter school finds an alternative that costs the same as or less than the average cost of transportation per student in the district, the law allows the charter school to provide its own transportation services to students eligible for transportation. In such cases, the law provides that the costs for such services will be deducted from a district's account on a quarterly basis, based on estimated and actual expenditures for transportation.

Massachusetts law requires the state to reimburse any district whose total charter school tuition amount is greater than its total charter school tuition amount for the previous year. The reimbursement amount is equal to 100 per cent of the increase in the year in which the increase occurs 25 per cent in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth years following.
In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Massachusetts charter schools were receiving on average $12,838 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $15,917 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $3,079 per pupil - or 19.3% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some continued inequities for operational, but the significant inequities exist for capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

8

Michigan

Per statute, charter schools receive a “foundation allowance” (that is, basic, per pupil operating revenue) from the state, and generally have equal access to categorical funding. These provisions should result in 100% of state and school district operations funding following each student. In reality, the amount of foundation allowance is dependent on the district in which the charter school is located, as Michigan law provides that charter schools must receive the same foundation as the district in which they are located or a state maximum foundation allowance, whichever is less. This approach results in the majority of charters receiving a smaller foundation allowed from the state than the local district in which they are located.

Michigan law does not provide transportation funding to either school districts or charter schools.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Michigan charter schools were receiving on average $8,652 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $10,781 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $2,129 per pupil - or 19.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some continued inequities for operational, but the significant inequities exist for capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

8

Minnesota

Minnesota law provides that a charter school earns general education revenue on a per pupil unit basis just as though it were a school district except for approximately $255 per pupil unit (4.85 percent of the basic formula allowance) for transportation expenses, which the charter school receives only if it provides transportation services. The general education revenue paid to a charter school is paid entirely through state aid.

The law provides that charter schools as LEAs have equal access to all applicable categorical funding.

Minnesota law's funding formula provides dollars for transportation to charter schools and gives charter schools the option of providing transportation and keeping the transportation funds or requesting the traditional district to provide transportation and then paying those funds to that district in which the school is physically located.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Minnesota charter schools were receiving on average $11,081 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $12,720 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $1,639 per pupil - or 12.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and the analysis reveals some continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

8

Mississippi

The law requires the state department of education to make payments to charter schools for each student in average daily attendance at the charter school equal to the state share of the adequate education program payments for each student in average daily attendance at the school district in which the charter school is located. In calculating the local contribution for purposes of determining the state share of the adequate education program payments, the law requires the state department to deduct the pro rata local contribution of the school district in which the student resides. The law requires a school district in which a charter school is located to pay directly to the charter school an amount for each student enrolled in the charter school equal to the ad valorem tax receipts and in-lieu payments received per pupil for the support of the local school district in which the student resides. The law requires that the pro rata ad valorem receipts and in-lieu receipts to be transferred to the charter school shall include all levies for the support of the local school district under Sections 37-57-1 (local contribution to the adequate education program) and 37-57-105 (school district operational levy) and may not include any taxes levied for the retirement of the local school district's bonded indebtedness or short-term notes or any taxes levied for the support of vocational-technical education programs.

The law requires the state department of education to direct the proportionate share of monies generated under federal and state categorical aid programs, including special education, vocational, gifted and alternative school programs, to charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. It requires the department to ensure that charter schools with rapidly expanding enrollments are treated equitably in the calculation and disbursement of all federal and state categorical aid program dollars.

The law requires the state department of education to disburse state transportation funding to a charter school on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to school districts under the adequate education program. While it appears that this law has many of the model law components related to equitable operational and categorical funding, there is no evidence yet of the actual level of equity once implementation of such elements occurs.

4

Missouri

Under Missouri law, for the purposes of the calculation and distribution of state aid, pupils enrolled in charter schools are included in the pupil enrollment of the school district where the student resides in the application of the state's per-pupil funding formula.

Missouri law requires districts to pay to charter schools per pupil funding in accordance with a state funding formula as well as other federal and state aid attributable to the charter school. It requires the district to make such payments no later than 20 days following receipt of such funds.

Missouri law provides that charter schools are eligible for state transportation aid and are free to contract with the local district or any other entity for such services.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Missouri charter schools were receiving on average $10,085 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $14,398 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $4,313 per pupil - or 30.0% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

Nevada

Nevada law includes some of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, but there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Nevada law provides that each pupil who is enrolled in a charter school, including, without limitation, a pupil who is enrolled in a program of special education in a charter school, must be included in the count of pupils in the school district for the purposes of apportionments and allowances from the State Distributive School Account.

It also provides that a charter school is entitled to receive its proportionate share of any other money available from federal, state, or local sources that the school or the pupils who are enrolled in the school are eligible to receive.

The law does not provide funding for transportation similar to school districts.

4

New Hampshire

For any charter schools approved by a local school board, New Hampshire law provides that a minimum of 80% of the per-pupil expenditures in the school district follows a student to schools.

For charter schools approved by the state board of education, New Hampshire law provides that the states’ annual per pupil contribution to public education (that is, adequacy and disparity aid) follows a student to school.

In theory, charter schools are eligible for all applicable categorical funding, but clear guidance regarding some funds is not available.

In reference to transportation, New Hampshire law provides that pupils who reside in the school district in which the charter is located must be provided transportation to the charter by that district. However, it also provides that the charter school must cover any added costs for such transportation services. In addition, a charter application must provide a pupil transportation plan, including reasonable provision from the charter school’s own resources for transportation of pupils residing outside the district in which the charter school is physically located.

The bulk of the state’s charters are authorized by the state board of education, not local school boards. According to recent data, the state-authorized charters receive $5,498 per pupil, as compared to state average for district students of $13,159 per pupil.

0

New Jersey

New Jersey law allows for substantial funding disparities by some charter schools relative to regular district schools caused by the exclusion of charter schools from state adjustment aid payments.

Under New Jersey law, local districts must pass along funding to charter schools in 12 equal installments starting on July 15th and thereafter on the 15th of each month and must make certain additional aid payments in 20 equal installments.

The law requires local school boards to provide transportation or aid in lieu of transportation for K-12 students attending charter schools.

In a recent national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), New Jersey charter schools were receiving on average $12,908 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $19,782 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $6,874 per pupil - or 34.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals significant inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

New Mexico

New Mexico law provides the amount of funding allocated to a charter school must be not less than ninety-eight percent of the school-generated program cost. It allows an authorizer to withhold and use two percent of the school-generated program cost for its administrative support of a charter school.

The law provides that portion of money from state or federal programs generated by students enrolled in a locally chartered charter school must be allocated to that charter school serving students eligible for that aid. In practice, the law is unevenly applied.

The law provides that when a state-chartered charter school is designated as a board of finance pursuant to state law, it must receive state and federal funds for which it is eligible.

The law provides that state-chartered charter schools may apply for all federal funds for which they are eligible. Locally-chartered schools must be included in their district’s consolidated federal application.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), New Mexico charter schools were receiving on average $9,240 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $9,907 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $667 per pupil - or 6.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for operational, categorical, and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

12

New York

The law requires districts to pass a proportional share of their per-pupil spending on school operations based on a funding formula, as well as other federal and state aid, to charter schools enrolling students who reside in their geographic area. In recent years, however, the funding formula has been “frozen” at existing levels through successive amendments to the charter law.

The law requires pass through payments to charter schools in six substantially equal installments per year. In the event that a district fails to pass along adequate funding to a charter school on a timely basis, the law empowers the New York State Comptroller to deduct funds owed to the charter school from district budgets and direct them to the school. According to charter school advocates in New York, this process is weak in practice, with the state often slow in intercepting dollars from school districts and sending them to charter schools.

Under New York law, charter schools are treated like non-public schools for the purpose of transportation and the district must provide services similar to those it provides to regular district schools. The law requires charter schools to provide any supplemental transportation.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), New York charter schools were receiving on average $12,908 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $19,782 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $6,874 per pupil - or 34.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals some continued inequities for operational funding and significant inequities for capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

4

North Carolina

North Carolina law provides that the state board of education must allocate to each charter school: an amount equal to the average per pupil allocation for average daily membership from the local school administrative unit allotments in which the charter school is located for each child attending the charter school except for the allocation for children with disabilities and for the allocation for children with limited English proficiency; an additional amount for each child attending the charter school who is a child with disabilities; and an additional amount for children with limited English proficiency attending the charter school, based on a formula adopted by the state board.

North Carolina law provides that if a student attends a charter school, the local school administrative unit in which the child resides must transfer to the charter school an amount equal to the per pupil share of the local current expense fund of the local school administrative unit for the fiscal year.

It is estimated that charter schools receive about 76% per pupil of the amount currently received by district students ($7,397 vs. $9,720 in 2008-09).

4

Ohio

Under Ohio law, charter school funding is the sum of opportunity grant funding, the per-pupil amount of targeted assistance funding for each student’s resident district times 0.25, special education funding, k-3 funding, economically disadvantaged funding, Limited English Proficiency funding, and career tech funding.

Ohio law requires districts to provide transportation for all charter students, but also allows charter schools to accept responsibility for transportation and receive funding for this directly from the state under prescribed circumstances.

In a study of charter school funding, the total average per-pupil amount of combined state and local revenue available to district students is $9,548. But the average amount deducted from a district for a charter student is only $6,772. District students are funded at nearly $3,000 dollars more on average, or 29%, than the amount that is transferred to support the education of the charter school student.

4

Oklahoma

Oklahoma law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding. There is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Oklahoma law requires the state board of education to determine the policy and procedure for making payments to a charter school.

Oklahoma law requires that charter schools receive state aid, but not local dollars.

Under Oklahoma law, a charter school "may" provide transportation. Where it is provided, charters receive the same per pupil allotment as traditional public schools for transportation.

0

Oregon

Oregon law provides that per-pupil funding for charter schools is 80% of the weighted Average Daily Maintenance (ADMw) funding formula for students in grades K-8 and 95% of ADMw for students in grades 9-12. The ADMw formula assumes that a charter school serves the same percentage of students in poverty as the district in which it is located.

Oregon law provides that special education funds go to the LEA of residence and establishes the minimum percentages of funds the resident district provides to the charter school.

According to a 2010 analysis, charter schools in Oregon receive only 55.7% of the funding per student that districts receive to serve the students in traditional district schools.

0

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania law provides that relevant funding is to follow students, based on the average school district per-pupil budgeted expenditure of the previous year, not including any capital or debt service expenditures. For regional charter schools and nonresident students, the law provides that funds must come from the school district of a student’s residence. In practice, the amount received is not necessarily equitable, depending upon the calculations of the district.

Pennsylvania law provides that state subsidy funds flow through the district to the school via 12 equal monthly payments, with the state secretary of education able to automatically divert funds to charter schools from districts not paying on time, although there are no penalties for districts who delay such payments.

Pennsylvania law provides that federal funds for categorical programs go directly to the charter schools, although there are still some categorical grants structured only for school district eligibility (not LEA eligibility).

Pennsylvania law provides that districts must provide transportation to resident students enrolled in a charter school located within 10 miles outside district boundaries or enrolled in a regional charter school of which their school district is a part. The law also provides that if a school district does not provide the required transportation, the state department of education is authorized to deduct the expenses from the school district and pay it to the charter.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), Pennsylvania charter schools were receiving on average $10,230 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $12,896 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $2,666 per pupil - or 20.7% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals significant continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

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Rhode Island

The state law includes many of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, but there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Rhode Island charter schools will be 100% equitably funded per a new state funding policy once the policy is fully phased in over seven years. Equitable funding for transportation is also included in the new policy.

While the law grants charter schools access to federal funding, clear guidance from the state is not explicitly required.

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South Carolina

South Carolina law provides that a local school board authorizer must distribute state, county, and school district funds to a charter school as determined by a formula created in law.

It also provides that the South Carolina Public Charter School District or public or independent institution of higher learning authorizer must receive and distribute state funds to a charter school as provided by the General Assembly. These schools are ineligible to receive local funding. The Fiscal Year 2012-2013 state budget includes dollars for these schools along with the base student cost per student that each school receives. These dollars equate to $1,700 per virtual charter school student and $3,250 per brick and mortar charter school student.

The law provides that authorizers shall distribute to charter schools federal funds that are allocated to the authorizer on the basis of the number of special characteristics of the students attending the charter schools. The law also provides that the proportionate share of state and federal resources generated by students or staff serving them must be directed to the authorizer. It requires an authorizer to supply to a school the proportional share of each categorical fund for which the charter school qualified within ten business days after the authorizer receives the funds. If the authorizer fails to do so, the law allows the South Carolina Department of Education to fine the authorizer an amount equivalent to the withheld amounts.

South Carolina law provides that charter schools are responsible for providing or contracting for transportation to in-district students. The law provides that the state is not responsible for student transportation unless the charter school is designated by the local school district as the only school selected within the school district’s attendance area.

In a national study of charter school funding (Charter School Funding: Inequity Persists, 2010), South Carolina charter schools were receiving on average $8,396 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $10,104 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $1,708 per pupil - or 16.9% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This figure includes all sources of funding, and analysis reveals continued inequities for both operational and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

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Tennessee

The state law includes some of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding. There is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Tennessee law requires a local board of education to allocate to a charter school an amount equal to the per student state and local funds received by the district and all appropriate allocations under federal law or regulation, including, but not limited to, Title I and ESEA funds.

The law requires the state department of education to promulgate rules and regulations that provide for the determination of the allocation of state and local funds. At a minimum, the law specifies that the rules must provide that: allocations shall be based on 100% of state and local funds received by the district, including current funds allocated for capital outlay purposes, excluding the proceeds of debt obligations and associated debt service; student enrollments used in allocations shall be for the same period used in allocating state funds to the district under the basic education program; and allocations to the charter school may not be reduced by the LEA for administrative, indirect or any other category of cost or charge except as specifically provided in a charter agreement.

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Texas

Texas law provides a funding formula for calculating the funding for open-enrollment charter schools. This funding formula, however, results in inequitable funding for open enrollment charter schools. The law is silent on funding for district-authorized schools.

Texas law specifies that open-enrollment charter schools are entitled to funds that are available to school districts from the state agency or the state commissioner in the form of grants or other discretionary funding unless the statute authorizing the funding explicitly provides that open-enrollment charter schools are not entitled to the funding. This law doesn’t apply to district-authorized charters.

In a national study of charter school funding (Statistical Analysis of Texas Charter School Facilities), Texas charter schools were receiving on average $8,860 per pupil, while traditional public schools would have received $10,499 for those students. As a result, the state's charter schools were receiving $1,639 per pupil - or 15% - less than what the traditional public schools would have received for those students. This analysis reveals continued inequities for operational, categorical, and capital funding (see component #19 for information on capital issues).

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Utah

The state law includes some the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, but there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

The funding formula in law does not currently provide charter schools with equitable operational funding, with the percentage of district per-pupil operating funds that charter schools receive fluctuating from year to year.

Utah law provides that all charter schools are eligible to receive federal funds if they meet all applicable federal requirements and comply with relevant federal regulations and that local board-authorized schools must receive funding on the same basis that other district schools receive funding.

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Virginia

Virginia law includes a small number of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

Virginia law allows a local school board to establish by contract an agreement stating the conditions for funding the public charter school. The law also provides that the funding shall be commensurate with the average school-based costs of educating the students in the existing schools in the district unless the cost of operating the charter school is less than that average school-based cost.

Virginia law requires the proportionate share of moneys allocated under other federal or state categorical aid programs be directed to public charter schools serving students eligible for such aid, but does not provide clear guidance on the pass-through of such funds.

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Washington

Statute provides that the state superintendent of education shall allocate funding for a charter school including general apportionment, special education, categorical, and other non-basic education monies, and such allocations are to be based on the statewide average staff mix ratio of all non-charter public schools from the prior school year and the school’s actual full-time equivalent enrollment.

It provides that categorical funding must be allocated based on the same funding criteria used for non-charter public schools. For charter schools authorized by a school board, it provides that allocations to the school are to be in the same manner as other public schools in the district.

It also states that conversion schools must be provided local levy monies approved by the voters both before and after the conversion start-up date. However, state law states that new charter schools are not eligible for local levy moneys approved before the start-up date of the school unless the local board is the authorizer, but after their start-up date, they must be included in the levy planning, budgets, and funding distribution in the same manner as other public schools in the district

Statute requires that allocation for pupil transportation is to be calculated on a per student basis based on the allocation for the previous school year to the school district in which the charter school is located.

While it appears that this law has many of the model law components related to equitable operational and categorical funding, there is no evidence yet of the actual level of equity once implementation of such elements occurs.

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Wisconsin

Wisconsin law is silent on how district-authorized charter schools should be funded. It provides that non-district-authorized public charter schools will receive $7,925 per pupil in 2013-14 and $8,075 per pupil in 2014-15. Beginning in 2015-16, the law provides that these schools’ per pupil payment be set equal to the payment amount in the prior year plus the revenue limit per pupil adjustments, if positive, provided to public school districts in the current year plus the change in categorical aid funding per pupil, if positive, from the prior year to the current year.

In a recent study (Education’s Fiscal Cliff, Real or Perceived?, 2013), traditional public schools in Milwaukee received 31.4% more in funding than public charter schools.

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Wyoming

Wyoming law includes none of the model law’s provisions for equitable operational and categorical funding, and there is no evidence of the amount of funds charters receive versus districts.

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