Public Charter Schools Receive Less Funding Per Pupil Than Traditional Public Schools, Study Finds
Despite increasing acceptance of public charter schools nationwide, charter schools in five major cities receive less funding per pupil than traditional public schools, a new study from researchers at the University of Arkansas finds.
According to Education’s Fiscal Cliff: Real or Perceived, a study commissioned by the Walton Family Foundation that will be published in the peer-reviewed Journal of School Choice in September, public charter schools in Denver, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Newark, and Washington, D.C., received an average of $4,000 less per student in 2011 than public schools in those same cities. “In the large, urban school districts evaluated, traditional public schools receive substantially more local, state, and federal funds than public charter schools,” said Larry Maloney, the report’s lead researcher. “While the gap is actually narrowing in regions like Newark and Washington, D.C.,” added Maloney, “there is still a major discrepancy of resources between traditional public and public charter school[s].”
Based on revenue data from local, state, federal, and non-public sources for the 2007-11 period, the report found that the funding gap between traditional public and public charter schools varied by region. In Denver, per pupil funding at traditional public schools increased 27.2 percent, to $13,823, over the five-year period, while funding per pupil at public charter schools rose only 14.2 percent, to $11,139. In Los Angeles, per pupil funding at traditional public schools fell 4.7 percent, to $13,446, while funding at charter schools declined 18.8 percent, to $8,780 per pupil. And in Milwaukee, per pupil funding at traditional public schools increased 14.2 percent, to $15,018, while charter school funding fell 5.5 percent, to $10,298 per pupil.
In contrast, funding for traditional public schools in Newark fell some 2,8 percent, to $26,187 per pupil, while funding for public charter schools rose 30.2 percent, to $15,973 per pupil. And in Washington, D.C., funding for traditional public schools increased 3 percent, to $29,145 per pupil, while funding for charter schools rose 6.6 percent, to $16,361 per pupil.
“Equitable public funding must follow students to their school of choice,” said Walton Family Foundation deputy director Ed Kirby. “We encourage state and federal policy makers to respond to the growing demand for multiple, publicly funded school choices and create a public policy environment that values each student equally.”
Tags:Arkansas EducationDenver Los AngelesDiscrepancyEducationGapMajor CitiesMilwaukeeNewarkPeer Reviewed JournalPublic Charter SchoolPublic Charter SchoolsPublic SourcesPupilRegionsResearcherRoseSchool ChoiceUniversity EducationUniversity Of ArkansasUrban School DistrictsWalton Family FoundationWashington D.C.