Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Charter Funding Inequity

Bellweather Education Partners has a new report out today called “Location, Location, Location: How would a high-performing charter school network fare in different states?” Authors Andrew Rotherham (of Eduwonk fame) and Chris Lozier (CFO of Civitas Schools) have conducted a "thought experiment" focusing on a highly-regarded charter school network in California – Aspire Public Schools -- that faces a problem endemic to charters: how can these schools scale up and achieve sustainability? And, given California’s general underfunding of public education, how would Aspire fare in a more generous state?

Read the report to find out for yourself. But here’s a few New Jersey tidbits:
  • Aspire would have benefited by operating in NJ, because we fund charters at per-pupil revenue (PPR) of $12,442 (based on 2009-2010 data), which compares favorably with California’s $9,987. D.C., NY, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Minnesota are the only states that outspend us on charter schools pupils.
  • However, when compared to our expenditures on non-charter public school students, we’re skinflints. The PPR for non-charter NJ kids is $19,614 (the report uses a geographic normalizing index to balance out differences in cost of living, rentals, wage differences, etc.). For context’s sake, the U.S. average is $11,052 PPR.
  • NJ’s disparity in PPR for public charter students and public non-charter students lofts us way high on the inequity scale. Our funding disparity is 36.4%, which ranks us above only California, NY, and D.C. for that category.

1 comment:

kallikak said...

If charter schools represent "labs" for the propogation and testing of educational concepts prior to their adoption in the public schools, why do we need them to "scale up" into large "networks"?

Methinks Messrs. Rotherham and Lozier have tipped their hands regarding the real agenda here, namely the de-funding and displacement of public schools by increasing numbers of charters.

Where is Albert Shanker when we need him?