About Charter Schools

Charter School Myths & Realities

Myths about Charter School Financing

Myth

Charter public schools don’t pay their fair share of special needs services.

 

Reality

Charter public schools are under the same obligation as district public schools to provide in-school special education services. You may hear opponents say that some special needs children cost $150,000 a year or more to educate, and that charters should not be receiving money for these students. In fact, they don’t! Such children usually attend specially equipped independent (“out-of-district”) schools, so the cost is not included in the calculation that determines how much money charters receive.

Myth

Charter public schools cost the state money it does not have.

Reality

When kids leave district schools to go to charter schools, the money earmarked for their education simply moves with them—it would be spent anyway. The only additional spending associated with charter schools is the reimbursement money the state gives to districts to ease the impact of students transferring to an alternative public school.

Myth

Charter schools "drain money" from public schools.

Reality

When money is allocated to charter public schools, there is no loss of funding for public education because charter schools are public schools.

Myth

The way charter public schools are funded is unfair to districts.

Reality

Charters receive funding only when parents choose to enroll their children in them; the funds move with the students. The amount a charter receives is based on how much a given district spends on each student. And in fact, by the state's own accounting, charter schools receive about 22 percent less funding than districts.

Myth

The cost of charter public schools causes budget cuts and tax hikes.

Reality

The financial impact on local budgets is grossly exaggerated. To give district schools time to adjust, the state reimburses them for the funds that students take with them when they choose charters. In fact, districts receive reimbursements for six years: 100 percent for the first year and 25 percent for the next five years. It adds up to more than double their money back.