Do Charter Schools Really Rely on Private Money?
I was scrolling through my Facebook feed today and came across this piece of News: Kipp Ignite Academy has received $100,000 through a Farmers Insurance Thank America’s Teachers grant. First of all, congratulations – more money for schools is always awesome. And that got me thinking….
How much money do KIPP and other charter schools get from non-governmental grants?
One way to look at is to think about their total revenue. Of course, schools get money on a per student basis from the California State government. But in addition, schools can get extra money by applying for government grants, such as those from the US Department of Education, or private grants, such as those from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation or Great Public Schools Now. Schools can also raise money through traditional fundraising and gifts from individuals.
While government grants are hard to tease out in public documents, those private grants and gifts are written on a separate line of tax documents – so we can see exactly how much revenue each group gets from non-governmental sources.
I was surprised to see that KIPP is not king when it comes to private grants. In 2015, Citizens of the World raised a whopping 32% of its revenue through private grants. KIPP was not far behind raising almost 25% of their revenue through private means.
But as you go down the list, you see major charter players, such as Green Dot and PUC raise far less (as a percent) from private sources. This is not to say that they spend any less per student – in fact Green Dot’s per pupil revenue appears to be higher than KIPP’s, but it says that the source of the revenue is clearly different.
Let’s flesh out the arguments a bit for both sides so you can think about it through Do Charter Schools Really Rely on Private Money? – School Data Nerd: