Charter School Finance

Authored by: LARRY MALONEY

Handbook of Research on School Choice

Print publication date:  April  2009
Online publication date:  May  2009

Print ISBN: 9780805862232
eBook ISBN: 9780203881781
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203881781-10

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Abstract

Money and education seem to be two topics linked in an eternal struggle. Does money matter? How much is enough? What performance can be guaranteed at what price? Now, on top of the continuing battle to fund education adequately comes a new level of argument— funding for traditional public schools (TPSs) versus funding for charter schools. Recent research has looked for answers to these questions. In 2005, the Fordham Institute evaluated the 2003 revenues provided to TPS districts and to charters to determine if both received similar funding. That research found a 21.7% gap in funding between districts and charters. While the Fordham research focused on the revenue received, little research has evaluated the financial impact of charter school growth by reviewing how school districts and charters spend money. This chapter reviews what, if any, financial changes occur as a result of charter school growth by examining four year expenditure patterns for two TPS districts and the charter schools that operate within their boundaries. Then the chapter evaluates if other factors influence the expenditure decisions of TPSs and charter schools, such as the needs of special education populations or the structure of state charter school laws.

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