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School District Facilities and Charter Public Schools

Russ Simnick

One of the greatest challenges to the health of the charter public school movement is access to adequate facilities in which to operate. Charter school facilities are rarely funded on par with school district facilities. Over the years, more states have come to realize that they have an obligation to ensure that children in all public schools—district and charter—have access to adequate school buildings.

As state lawmakers consider policies giving charter schools better access to district facilities, they must give serious thought to several issues, including

  • Creating an entity that will collect and freely share information on available buildings with charter schools;
  • Giving charter schools the right of first refusal on available facilities;
  • Determining what price, if any, charter schools should pay to lease or acquire available buildings; and
  • Determining who will pay for renovation and upkeep of the facilities once charter schools are in them.

This report, School District Facilities and Charter Public Schools, provides a snapshot of the 28 states that have enacted policies that try to provide charter schools with better access to district facilities.