Dr. Rich Patterson


How Are Charter Schools Funded? — Part 4

In general, charter schools receive money from the state and the local school district based on the number of students.  All schools/districts/charters receive additional money from the federal government for the special education students, funded at a higher level than a regular student.   They may also have money from a sponsor, corporation, or other donations to invest in the charter.  The federal government also gives grants specifically to charter schools to help them expand.

As discussed in the previous three posts, charters usually specialize in a particular need or focus of the school district or community area that is problematic.  For example, they may emphasize STEM or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) and work to attract students attracted to those fields.  Individuals also invest personal wealth in charter schools such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Walmart, Michael Bloomberg, etc.  A charter school will have a contract with the local school district or the state, which spells out the funding they will receive from a district and state resources.  These other incomes mentioned here can serve as money to enhance what they already receive.

In Colorado, where I am located, a charter school may operate free from specified school district policies and free from state rules unless otherwise specified.  This varies from state to state.  For example in Connecticut, charter schools are subject to all federal and state laws governing public schools, however, they may file a request to waive certain provisions.  Check your state’s charter laws and ask for a copy of their agreement with the local school district.  Read it and be aware of the provisions concerning the governance of the school.

Part 5 in this series may be found here, Charter Schools: Public or Private? – Dr. Rich Patterson (pattersonphd.com)

Here is a link to the Colorado League of Charter Schools, Charter School Facts – Colorado League of Charter Schools

Details or variations on a theme vary concerning charter schools, depending on the laws for a particular state.  Not all states have charter schools, but the last count was 45 states offer a charter school opportunity.

Source:  Prothero, Arianna. (2018) Charter Schools: 7 Common Questions, Answered.  Education Week, August 9, 2018.