New National Alliance Paper Explores Funding for Special Education in Charter Public Schools

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Washington, D.C. A new publication released today by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools and The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools will serve as a tool for charter school leaders, advocates, and policy makers to better understand the funding mechanisms for special education services for students in charter public schools.

The purpose of the paper, Getting Lost While Trying to Follow the Money: Special Education Finance in Charter Schools, is to offer a clear and concise summary of special education funding by:

  • Describing how general and special education programs are funded in public schools;
  • Spotlighting how three states special education funding mechanisms apply to charter schools and affect their operations;
  • Identifying key questions charter schools, authorizers, and support organizations should ask when trying to understand the nuances of special education funding in their state; and,
  • Offering a state-by-state summary of key laws and regulations that govern how special education is funded in the 43 states and the District of Columbia with charter school laws.

"This paper provides charter public school stakeholders nationwide with an understanding about how funding for special education services works," said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "Its important for schools and advocates to have this type of technical information so that they can ensure charter schools receive their appropriate allocation of federal, state and local dollars to support special education programs."

Lauren Morando Rhim, Executive Director and Co-founder of National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools added, "So many discussions about special education boil down to questions about resources. This report takes a critical step forward to help stakeholders understand how federal, state, and local dollars flow to support students with disabilities in charter schools."

To read the full publication, click here.

About Charter Schools
Charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, manyresearch studieshavefound that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter movement. For more information, please visit

About The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools

The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools is dedicated to ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to charter schools and that public charter schools are designed and operated to enable all students to succeed.