Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Revisiting the Compexities of Charter Funding Comparisons | School Finance 101

Revisiting the Compexities of Charter Funding Comparisons | School Finance 101:

Revisiting the Compexities of Charter Funding Comparisons

This Education Week Post today rather uncritically summarized a recently published article based on an earlier report on charter school spending “gaps.” I’ve not had a chance to dig into this updated study yet, but the Ed Week post also referred to an earlier study from Ball State University which I have critiqued on multiple occasions. Importantly, my previous critiques of this study point to the complexities of making these comparisons appropriately.  Here is one version of my critique of the Ball State study, which appears in Footnote 22, page 49 of this study:
A study frequently cited by charter advocates, authored by researchers from Ball State University and Public Impact, compared the charter versus traditional public school funding deficits across states, rating states by the extent that they under-subsidize charter schools. The authors identify no state or city where charter schools are fully, equitably funded.
But simple direct comparisons between subsidies for charter schools and public districts can be misleading because public districts may still retain some responsibility for expenditures associated with charters that fall within their district boundaries or that serve students from their district. For example, under many state charter laws, host districts or sending districts retain responsibility for providing transportation services, subsidizing food services, or providing funding for special education services. Revenues provided to host districts to provide these services