Education Funding Report Roundup

Study: Charters May Spend More Than Other Schools

By Sean Cavanagh — May 08, 2012 1 min read
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A new report concludes that many well-known charter school networks spend more money per pupil than regular public schools serving comparable populations.

Released by the National Education Policy Center, at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the analysis examines charter schools’ 990 filings through the Internal Revenue Service, and state and local data, focusing on charter school spending in three states: New York, Ohio, and Texas.

It concludes that the charter school networks studied in New York spend more per pupil than nearby traditional public schools serving similar populations and grade levels. Schools in the Achievement First charter network spent about $660, or 5 percent, more than the regular public schools. Green Dot spent as much as $1,500, or 11 percent, more; and KIPP spending was significantly higher—33 percent, or $4,300, more per pupil than the neighborhood public schools.

The findings for charter spending were similar in Texas. In Ohio, however, charters consistently spent less than traditional public schools—anywhere between 10 percent and 30 percent less per pupil, the report found.

But officials for KIPP, or Knowledge Is Power, were highly critical of the report. They said it includes nonschool costs for KIPP charters in New York, and does not account for the rapid growth at the time for the charter schools studied in Texas—growth that would have driven up per-pupil costs—and did not consistently offer comparable figures for regular public schools.

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A version of this article appeared in the May 09, 2012 edition of Education Week as Report: Spending Higher for Charters


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