New York Receives "F" Rating for Charter School Funding Inequality

Posted by on 04 / 30 / 2014 0 Reactions

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For Immediate Release: April 30, 2014
Contact: Jessica Mokhiber, (518) 573-0516jmokhiber@necharters.org
 
 

NEW YORK STATE RECEIVES “F” RATING FOR CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING INEQUALITY

The University of Arkansas study shows New York’s charter students only receive 75 cents on every dollar in funding for students in district schools

 
Albany, NY: The most comprehensive nationwide study comparing funding for public charter school students to traditional district schools shows that New York state charter students receive nearly 25% less per pupil per year. The gap grows to more than 30% when weighted to compare charters to districts with similar demographics.
 
University of Arkansas researchers looked at 30 states and awarded letter grades based on the disparity. As a state with a disparity of least 25%, New York received a grade of “F”.
 
The authors conclude that the persistent and growing inequities in charter funding are the result of structural problem in state K-12 policy. In New York, charters in private space do not receive building support—a major factor in why the funding gap is so large. 
 
Northeast Charter Schools Network President Bill Phillips said:
 
“Today’s numbers confirm what we have been saying for years – that charter school students are treated as three-quarters of a person when it comes to funding. This inequity has lasted for 15 years and continues today, largely because New York’s charter schools, unlike all other public schools, have not received funding for facilities.
 
“The new state budget addressed this issue for some charters. But only half the students who attend charter schools in New York State will get new building support. For the other half, less money is available for their education because their schools have to divert their already lesser resources to pay rent. It is fundamentally unfair and needs to be remedied.
 
“The state needs to finish the deal and grant charter school students access to the same statewide building aid program that students in district schools already have.”
 
The study [University of Arkansas, Charter Funding: Inequity Expands] examined data from across New York State and added a focus on three regions – Albany, Buffalo and New York City – which comprise 85% of the state’s total charter population.
 
Buffalo fares the worst, facing a staggering difference of $9,811 less spent on a charter school student compared to a district student each year – a 41.7% gap. In Albany, charter school students receive $5,379 less than their peers, and in New York City charter students receive $7,623 less.
 
Charter school funding has been frozen since the 2010-11 school year, and the recently enacted budget provides only a modest increase for the 2014-15 school year. It also capped future funding increases, which will only grow the gap more, over time.
 
Joy Pepper, Executive Director of Tapestry Charter School in Buffalo, said:
 
"This study documents our crisis. Our children get 40 percent less funding than the children in the district school across the street. We had high hopes this year that the Governor would finally provide us relief through building aid. Not only did we not get building aid, we took a funding cut on our per-pupil dollars compared to what the Governor and Senate originally proposed. These decisions jeopardize the positive strides we have made in educational outcomes and will impact future growth potential."
 
Charlene Reid, Head of School for the Bronx Charter School for Excellence, said:
 
“New York City children in charter schools receive less per pupil, and 40 percent of the city’s charters have to stretch those unequal funds even further to pay for our buildings. This is a glaring gap in the law that needs to be fixed.”
 
Julio Vasquez, Founder and Board Chair of Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School in Rochester, said:
 
“For years our resources have been spread too thinly over all our costs. We’re making it work, but after three years of flat funding followed by a miniscule increase for next year, I’m worried. We run a successful bi-lingual program that is in high demand and we’d love to add a prekindergarten. But when you are at such a funding disadvantage the possible sometimes seems impossible. How can we grow when we are barely making ends meet?”
 
About the Northeast Charter Schools Network:
 
The Northeast Charter Schools Network is a regional advocacy organization for the more than 200 charter schools in New York and Connecticut. Its mission is to support and expand high quality charter schools in the region.
 
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