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.
Alabama law provides that for each of its students, a public charter school shall receive the same amount of state funds, including funds earmarked for the Foundation Program transportation, school nurses, technology coordinators, and other line items that may be included in the appropriation for the Foundation Program Fund, that, for the then-current fiscal year, would have otherwise been allocated on behalf of each public charter school student to the local school system where the student resides. This amount shall reflect the status of each student according to grade level, economic disadvantage, limited English proficiency, and special education needs.
Alabama law provides, that for each of its students, a public charter school shall receive the same amount of local tax revenue, that, for the then-current fiscal year, would have otherwise been allocated on behalf of each public charter school student to the local non-charter public school of each student's residence, excluding those funds already earmarked through a vote of the local school board for debt service, capital expenditures, or transportation. As necessary, the department shall promulgate processes and procedures to determine the specific local revenue allocations according to the Foundation Program for each public charter school.
Alabama law provides that the maximum annual local tax allocation forwarded to a start-up public charter school from a local school system shall, for each student, not exceed the per student portion of the state required 10 mill ad valorem match. It also provides that the maximum annual local tax allocation forwarded to a conversion public charter school from a local school system shall, for each student, equal the amount that would have been received by the local education agency of the student's residence for each student who now attends a conversion public charter school, minus any amounts otherwise excluded.
Alabama law provides that the state department of education shall direct the proportionate share of moneys generated under federal and state categorical aid programs to public charter schools serving students eligible for such aid.
Alabama law provides that the state department of education shall disburse state transportation funding to a public charter school on the same basis and in the same manner as it is paid to public school systems. It also provides that public charter schools that do not provide transportation services shall not be allocated any federal, state, or local funds otherwise earmarked for transportation-related expenses.
In the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, New Schools for Alabama was able to secure a $600,000 increase for the Alabama Public Charter School Commission, bringing its total allocation to $800,000. Legislators made it clear to the Commission that the additional funding was to support new school development efforts, so the Commission contracts with New Schools for Alabama to support New Schools’ School Founders Program. The School Founders Program is a leadership development program that supports two aspiring school leaders during the pre-application phase and puts them through a year-long leadership fellowship, preparing them to write their application and ensuring that the Commission gets high-quality and prepared applicants. The selection process for this program is highly competitive and thus far has produced four fellows in two cohorts. The first cohort has already had their applications approved for schools to open in Perry County and Montgomery. The second cohort will submit their applications to the Commission next month.