Study: Charter Students Face Funding Inequality; NECSN Urges Lawmakers to Keep Up the Progress in Closing the Gap

Posted by on 04 / 30 / 2014 0 Reactions

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

STUDY: CHARTER STUDENTS FACE FUNDING INEQUALITY; NECSN URGES LAWMAKERS TO KEEP UP THE PROGRESS IN CLOSING THE GAP

The University of Arkansas study shows state’s charter students faced a 16.9% funding disparity

 
Hartford, CT: A nationwide study comparing funding for charter public school students to their peers in district-run public schools shows that Connecticut charter students received almost $3,000 less per pupil during the 2010-11 school year.
Charter students received $13,902 per pupil compared to $16,719 that district schools received, which was a 17% difference. The gap rose to 19% in Bridgeport and 42% in New Haven.
 
However, starting with the 2012 education reform bill, Connecticut has started to close that gap by increasing per pupil funding for public charter students from $9,300 in 2010-11 to $10,500 per pupil in 2013-14. An increase to $11,000 per pupil is currently slated to occur in 2014-15.
 
Northeast Charter Schools Network Connecticut Director Jeremiah Grace said:
 
“This is a timely reminder that Connecticut needs to keep up the progress and maintain its investment in public charter schools and the children who attend them. 
 
“We understand that there are difficult decisions to be made in this budget, but we applaud Governor Malloy and the General Assembly for working to close this gap and urge them to protect funding for these students.
 
“With new charters enrolling low-income and English Language Learner students in Bridgeport and New Haven, now is not the time to halt this progress and break the promises to those families.”
 
The study by researchers from the University of Arkansas [University of Arkansas, Charter Funding: Inequity Expands] looked at 30 states, and awarded letter grades based on the disparity. If a state has at least a 25% disparity – which Connecticut does when the data is adjusted to compare charters to districts that serve similar populations-- it receives a grade of “F”.
 
Most money for school districts comes from local property taxes. Most state revenue for charter schools comes from the state via a separate per pupil grant, and charter schools generally do not receive local funding.
 
Facts about Connecticut charter schools:
  • Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that admit students via a blind lottery. They accept all students regardless of their academic ability.
  • They are managed by non-profits and subject to government oversight. Charter schools must perform to stay open.
  • State charter schools do not take funding away from the local school district in any way, shape or form. When a student attends a state charter school, the local school district actually keeps the state funding for that student, and the charter receives a separate grant from the state. C.G.S.A. § 10-66ee.
  • Districts are eligible for reimbursement from the state for transportation and special education services provided to charter school students. C.G.S.A. § 10-66ee.
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.
 
915 Broadway, Suite 110, Albany NY, 12207
http://necharters.org
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