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Charters Receive Less Money Per Pupil, Study Finds

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Charter schools, on average, get nearly $2,000 less per student than regular public schools, according to a detailed analysis of 16 states and the District of Columbia.

The report—issued by a think tank that backs school choice—appears to be the most comprehensive look to date at charter school finance. It notes that for a typical school serving 250 students, the gap amounts to $450,000.

The largest discrepancy, by percentage, was in South Carolina, where charters received almost 40 percent, or $3,453, less per pupil than district-run schools during the 2002-03 academic year, according to the report, which was produced by the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Foundation.

The report sought to analyze funding from all federal, state, local, and private sources. It looked at 2002-03 data for the 16 states and the District of Columbia, which collectively enroll 83 percent of the nation’s 1 million charter students.

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