New study by University of Arkansas and Western Carolina University researchers finds that Democrat-backed budget bill pending in Congress would reduce, on average, $ 1,131 per student in school resources chartered.
The exact amount of the budget reduction depends on how House Resolution 4502 – if adopted in its current form – is interpreted, according to the researchers.
The bill would eliminate all federal funding for charter schools that contract with for-profit organizations. The main target appears to be charter school management organizations which are organized as for-profit associations and oversee a network of charters. But the wording is vague enough to apply to charters that contract with any private company, even those that provide education, nutrition or transportation services to students.
“Policymakers should approach bills like HR 4502 with extreme caution, as this will reduce funding for disadvantaged students attending charter schools, and instead ensure that funding is tied to student needs rather than type of student. public school that a student attends, “said Patrick J. Wolf, 21st Century Chair in School Choice in the Department of Educational Reform at the University of Arkansas.
Low-income students may bear the brunt of the cost reduction. The researchers found that charter schools run by for-profit entities “tended to enroll a higher proportion of low-income students than they did. [traditional public schools] and tended to face larger funding gaps than other types of charter schools, resulting in additional cuts of particular concern. “
In addition to describing the cost in dollars and cents of HR 4502 to charter schools, the researchers sought to dispel three myths about charter school funding.
The first is that charter funding is fair compared to traditional public school funding. “Charter schools are systematically underfunded compared to [traditional public schools] and funding gaps are unrelated to the proportion of low-income students they serve, ”the researchers wrote.
The second myth is that charter schools embezzle taxpayer funds from traditional public schools, when in fact charter schools “are public schools that spend a greater proportion of their funds on the education of students than they do. [traditional public schools] to do.”
The third myth addressed by the researchers is that charters receive more non-public funding per audience than traditional schools and therefore do not depend as much on public funding. The answer: “For many years and in many cities, charter schools received less non-public funding per student than they did. [traditional public schools] do and rely almost exclusively on funding from public sources.
“We suspect bills like these are driven by a misunderstanding of the realities of charter school spending,” said another researcher on the project, Angela Dills of Western Carolina University.
The findings in this report are based on an analysis of income and spending in 18 major U.S. cities during the 2017-18 school year. This report is the final report in a series of four published by the University of Arkansas-based research team.