Is there equitable operational funding and equal access to all state and federal categorical funding?
Alaska 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.
Alaska law requires a local school board to provide a charter school with an annual program budget which shall not be less than the amount generated by the students enrolled in the charter school less administrative costs retained by the school district, determined by applying the indirect cost rate approved by the department up to four percent. Costs directly related to charter school facilities, including rent, utilities, and maintenance, may not be included in an annual program budget for the purposes of calculating the four percent cap on administrative costs.
The law provides that the “amount generated by students enrolled in the charter school” is to be determined in the same manner as it would be for a student enrolled in another public school in that school district and includes funds generated by grants, appropriations, federal impact aid, the required local contribution, the local contribution under AS 14.17.410(c), special needs under AS 14.17.420(a)(1), and secondary school vocational and technical instruction under AS 14.17.420(a)(3).
Alaska charter school law requires the local district also pass along to the charter school on a per-pupil basis any local contribution under AS 14.17.410(c), which allows local districts to seek a mill levy increase of up to 2 mills.
The law requires a school district that provides transportation services under state law to provide transportation services to students attending a charter school operated by the district under a policy adopted by the district. The policy must: be developed with input solicited from individuals involved with the charter school, including staff, students, and parents; at a minimum, provide transportation services for students enrolled in the charter school on a space available basis along the regular routes that the students attending schools in an attendance area in the district are transported; and be approved by the state department of education. If a school district fails to adopt a policy, the school district shall allocate the amount received for each charter school student to each charter school operated by the district based on the number of students enrolled in the charter school.
Alaska law allows a charter school that is established on or after the effective date of this section to receive a one-time grant from the state department of education equal to the amount of $500 for each student enrolled in the school on October 1 of the first year in which the school applies for the grant. The charter school shall use a grant received under this section to provide educational services, which include curriculum development, program development, and special education services.