Charter Schools - How is the funding for a charter school determined?

Charter Schools - How is the funding for a charter school determined?

June 2014


At the present time, 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted charter school laws, so this database contains information only for them. It does not contain any information for the 8 states that have not enacted charter school laws.

Please contact Jennifer Thomsen, 303.299.3633 or jthomsen@ecs.org with questions or comments about the database.
 

How is the funding for a charter school determined?
Alaska A local school board provides an approved charter school with an annual program budget. The budget cannot be less than the amount generated by students enrolled in the charter school minus a portion for administrative costs, not to exceed 4%. The amount generated by students enrolled in the charter school is determined in the same manner as it is for a student enrolled in another public school in that school district.
Arizona In addition to a base support level from the state, charter schools receive state program grants. Charter schools do not have access to local revenue from property taxes and bond measures; however, the state provides charters with "additional assistance" funds to make up for the lack of local revenues.
Arkansas A conversion charter school receives funds equal to the amount apportioned by the school district from state and local revenue per average daily membership. An open-enrollment charter school receives funds equal to the minimum state and local revenue per average daily membership.
California Funding for most state general-purpose and categorical programs follows students, based on average school district per-pupil revenue. Charter schools do not receive transportation, desegregation and other specified funds. Special education funding is negotiated locally through regional consortia.
Colorado For charter schools authorized by local school boards, 100% of the per-pupil revenue flows to charter schools, less an amount for specified administrative costs based on actual district spending as reported to the state. The administrative amount is limited to 5%, except in districts with 500 or fewer students, where it is limited to 15%. For charter schools authorized by the state charter institute, 100% of the per-pupil revenue flows to charter schools, less up to 3% for for the state charter school institute's administrative costs and up to 2% for the state department of education's administrative costs.
Connecticut For local charter schools, funding is specified in the charter. In addition, the state board of education may approve a per-student grant not to exceed $3,000 for each student enrolled in a local charter school provided that the local or regional board of education and the representatives of the exclusive bargaining unit for certified employees mutually agree on staffing flexibility in the local charter school, and the agreement is approved by the state board.

For state charter schools, the state pays $11,000 per pupil to the charter school; however, funding for state charter schools is directly dependent on the state's annual appropriation.

Delaware State funding for charter schools is based on the state unit funding formula and local funding is based on the previous year per-pupil expenditure in a student's school district of residence. 
District of Columbia Based on D.C.'s per-pupil formula for traditional public schools
Florida Students enrolled in a charter school are funded the same as students enrolled in other public schools in the school district.
Georgia A specific funding formula dictates the minimum amount of funding a charter school must receive, with funding beyond the minimum negotiated with the authorizer and specified in the charter. A state-chartered special school may not receive local tax dollars that a charter school approved by a local school board receives.
Hawaii Charter funding is determined annually, with a per pupil amount for each regular education and special education student. This amount must be equivalent to the total per pupil cost based upon average enrollment in all cost categories, including comprehensive school support services but excluding special education services, for all means of financing except federal funds, as reported in the most recently published department of education consolidated annual financial report. A charter school governing board may choose to use the department's funding funding procedure or the board may choose and alternative weighted student formula.
Idaho The state annually calculates the support units for each charter school from the state educational support program. Charter schools may qualify for alternative school support monies if they meet certain statutory requirements.
Illinois Funding is negotiated with the sponsor school district and specified in the charter, but must not be less than 75% or more than 125% of per capita student tuition multiplied by the number of students residing in the district who are enrolled in the charter school.
Indiana Charter schools receive the per-pupil funding that traditional schools receive.
Iowa A charter school is considered a part of the school district in which it is located for purposes of state school foundation aid.
Kansas Discretion of the school district
Louisiana For locally-approved charter schools, state and school district operation funding follows students, based on average school district per-pupil revenue. For state-approved charter schools, funding is in the amount of the average per-pupil revenue of the resident school district.
Maine Charter schools report student enrollment to the department of education and then receive a per-pupil allocation from the school district.
Maryland A county school board disburses to a charter school an amount of county, state and federal money that is commensurate with the amount disbursed to other public schools in the local jurisdiction. Also, the state board or the county board may give surplus educational materials, supplies, furniture and other equipment to a charter school.
Massachusetts The tuition amount for each commonwealth charter school is determined by a funding formula based on the Massachusetts foundation budget formula. This base amount is adjusted by the percentage of "above foundation" spending of each charter school student's sending district, and a flat per-pupil facilities aid amount.

Horace Mann charter schools funding is determined annually as part of their local school committee's budget process. Each Horace Mann charter school receives, in response to the budget request, not less than it would have under the district’s budgetary allocation rules. The board of trustees may appeal any disproportionate budgetary allocation to the commissioner, who shall determine an equitable funding level for the school and shall require the school committee to provide the funding.
Following the appropriation of the district’s operating budget for the fiscal year, the amount approved by the local appropriating authority for the operation of each Horace Mann charter school shall be available for expenditure by the board of trustees of the school for any lawful purpose without further approval by the superintendent or the school committee. A Horace Mann charter school shall not expend or incur obligations in excess of its budget request; provided, however, that a Horace Mann charter school may spend federal and state grants and other funds received independent of the school district not accounted for in the charter school’s budget request without prior approval from the superintendent or the school committee.
Michigan All charters are funded through the State School Aid Act. Each school receives funding through the per-pupil base foundation. This amount may not exceed the per-pupil base foundation received by the local district where the school is located.
Minnesota The state portion of operations funding follows students, based on average state per-pupil revenue. Charter schools that provide transportation services receive additional transportation aid. The school district portion of operations funding does not follow students.
Mississippi The school district pays directly to the charter school an amount for each student enrolled in the charter school equal to the ad valorem tax receipts and in-lieu payments received per pupil for the support of the local school district in which the student resides. The pro rata ad valorem receipts and in-lieu receipts to be transferred to the charter school are to include all levies for the support of the local school district (local contribution to the adequate education program) and (school district operational levy) and may not include any taxes levied for the retirement of the local school district's bonded indebtedness or short-term notes or any taxes levied for the support of vocational-technical education programs. In no event may the payment exceed the pro rata amount of the local ad valorem payment for the local contribution to the adequate education program for the school district in which the student resides. Payments made under this section by a school district to a charter school must be made before the expiration of three (3) business days after the funds are distributed to the school district by the tax collector. A charter may contract with the district for provision of special education services.
 
The state department is required to direct the proportionate share of monies generated under federal and state categorical aid programs, including special education, vocational, gifted and alternative school programs, to charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. The department is to  ensure that charter schools with rapidly expanding enrollments are treated equitably in the calculation and disbursement of all federal and state categorical aid program dollars. Each charter school that serves students who may be eligible to receive services provided through such programs shall comply with all reporting requirements to receive the aid. 
Missouri 100% of state foundation formula per-pupil for the school district is provided to charter schools. Additional funding may be available for specific student populations. 

If a charter is its own LEA, it receives weighted average daily attendance and state adequacy target plus local tax revenue per weighted daily attendance and all other excess state teaching funds owed.  
Nevada 100% of per-pupil funding is provided to charter schools.
  • All charter school students, including special education charter school students, must be included in the count of pupils in the school district for the purposes of apportionments and allowances. A charter school is entitled to receive its proportionate share of any other money available from federal, state or local sources that the school or the pupils who are enrolled in the school are eligible to receive. If a charter school receives special education program units directly from the state, the amount of money for special education that the school district pays to the charter school may be reduced proportionately by the amount of money the charter school received from the state for that purpose.
  • Upon completion of each school quarter, the Superintendent of Public Instruction is required to pay to the sponsor of a charter school one-quarter of the yearly sponsorship fee for the administrative costs associated with sponsorship for that school quarter, which must be deducted from the quarterly apportionment to the charter school. Except as otherwise provided, the yearly sponsorship fee for the sponsor of a charter school must be in an amount of money not to exceed 2% of the total amount of money apportioned to the charter school during the school year.
  • If the governing body of a charter school satisfies the requirements of this subsection, the governing body may submit a request to the sponsor of the charter school for approval of a sponsorship fee in an amount that is less than 2% but at least 1% of the total amount of money apportioned to the charter school during the school year. The sponsor of the charter school is required to approve such a request if the sponsor of the charter school determines that the charter school satisfies the requirements of this subsection. 
  • To determine the amount of money for distribution to a charter school in its first year of operation, the count of pupils who are enrolled in the charter school must initially be determined 30 days before the beginning of the school year of the school district, based on the number of pupils whose applications for enrollment have been approved by the charter school. The count of pupils who are enrolled in the charter school must be revised on the last day of the first school month of the school district in which the charter school is located for the school year, based on the actual number of pupils who are enrolled in the charter school. The governing body of a charter school may request that the apportionments made to the charter school in its first year of operation be paid to the charter school 30 days before the apportionments are otherwise required to be made.
New Hampshire For charter schools approved by the local district, a minimum of 80% of the per-pupil expenditure in the school district follows a student to school. For charter schools approved by the state board of education or by a district that is not the district of residence, or for online schools authorized by the state board, the state's contribution to public education plus $2000 for each pupil follows a student to school. 

The first payment is to be 30% of the per pupil amount multiplied by the number of eligible pupils present on the first day of the current school year. Such payment must be made no later than 15 days after the department of education receives the attendance report. The December 1 payment is 30% of the per pupil amount multiplied by the membership on November 1, and the March 1 payment is 30% of the per pupil amount multiplied by the membership on February 1. To calculate the final payment, the commissioner of the department of education is to multiply the per pupil amount by the average daily membership in attendance for the full school year, and subtract the total amount of the first 3 payments made. The remaining balance is to be the final payment. Tuition amounts are to be prorated on a per diem basis for pupils attending a school for less than a full school year.
 
New Jersey Charter schools receive 90% of state-mandated minimum per-pupil spending for students who reside in the district and a percentage of special education categorical equal to the percentage of the district's special education students who are enrolled in the school. For non-resident students, the state pays 100%. And if applicable, 100% of preschool aid is provided.
New Mexico The amount of funding allocated to the charter school must be not less than 98% of the school-generated program cost.
New York Beginning with the 2016-17 school year, school districts are required to provide 100% of a state-specified per-pupil funding calculation, although this amount may be reduced pursuant to an agreement between the school and the charter authorizer set forth in the charter. Charters receive all applicable state and federal funds for students with disabilities.
North Carolina The state board of education must allocate to each charter school: (1) An amount equal to the average per pupil allocation for average daily membership from the school district allotments in which the charter school is located for each child attending the charter school, except for the allocation for children with special needs and for the allocation for children with limited English proficiency; (2) An additional amount for each child attending the charter school who is a child with special needs; and (3) An additional amount for children with limited English proficiency attending the charter school, based on a formula adopted by the state board of education. The state board is to allow for annual adjustments to the amount allocated based on the school's enrollment growth in subsequent years.

If a student attends a charter school, the school district in which the child resides must transfer to the charter school an amount equal to the per pupil share of the local current expense fund of the school district for the fiscal year.

Ohio Funding is based on total FTE with adjustments for special education categories 1-6, ELL categories 1-3, career-technical categories 1-5, K-3 FTE, economically disadvantaged, average daily membership. Up to 3% can be retained by the governing authority for oversight and monitoring.
Oklahoma For charter schools sponsored by a board of education of a school district, the sum of the separate calculations for the charter school and the school district are used to determine the total State Aid allocation for the district in which the charter school is located.  A charter school receives from the sponsoring school district, the State Aid allocation and any other state-appropriated revenue generated by its students for the applicable year, less up to five percent (5%) of the State Aid allocation, which may be retained by the school district as a fee for administrative services rendered. 

For charter schools sponsored by the board of education of a technology center school district, a higher education institution, the State Board of Education, or a federally recognized Indian tribe and for statewide virtual charter schools sponsored by the Statewide Virtual Charter School Board, the State Aid allocation is distributed by the State Board of Education and not more than five percent (5%) of the State Aid allocation may be charged by the sponsor as a fee for administrative services rendered. 

For virtual charter schools, the weighted average daily membership for a full-time virtual charter school is determined by multiplying the actual enrollment of students as of August 1 by 1.333.  At midyear, the allocation for the full-time virtual charter school is to be adjusted using the first quarter weighted average daily membership for the virtual charter school. 

 
Oregon
For charter schools that are sponsored by a school district, funding is equal an amount per weighted average daily membership (ADMw) of the public charter school that is at least equal to:
  • 80% of the amount of the school districts General Purpose Grant per ADMw for K-8 and
  • 95% of the amount of the school district's general purpose grant per weighted average daily membership for 9-12

For state-approved charter schools and charter schools sponsored by higher education institutions, funding is equal an amount per weighted average daily membership (ADMw) of the public charter school that is at least equal to:
  • 90% of the amount of the school district's general purpose grant per weighted average daily membership for K-8 and
  • 95% for 9-12 of the amount of the school district's general purpose grant per weighted average daily membership
Pennsylvania Relevant funding follows students, based on the average school district per-pupil budgeted expenditure of the previous year. For regional charter schools and nonresident students, funds come from the school district of a student's residence. Charter schools receive additional funding for special needs students, or may request the intermediate unit to assist in providing special-needs services at the same cost as provided to a school district's schools.
Rhode Island The funding for each charter school consists of state revenue and municipal or district revenue in the same proportions that funding is provided to other schools within the school district in which the charter school is located. The state deducts and gives 5% of the state revenue to the school district for indirect cost support. A charter school may negotiate with a school district to determine the cost of services that the charter school wants the school district to provide.
South Carolina A school district distributes state, county and school district funds to a charter school as determined by the following formula:
The previous year's audited total general fund revenues, divided by the previous year's weighted students, then increased by the Education Finance Act inflation factor for the years following the audited expenditures, then multiplied by the weighted students enrolled in the charter school, which will be subject to adjustment for student attendance and state budget allocations based on the same criteria as the local school district. 
Tennessee A local school board allocates all state and local education funds to a charter school based on the per-pupil expenditures of the school district, which are based on the prior year's average daily membership for the school district.
Texas Texas law provides for open-enrollment charter schools but not for district-approved charters.
 
Open-enrollment charter school funding is equal to the greater of:
(1)  the percentage specified by Section 42.2516(i) multiplied by the amount of funding per student in weighted average daily attendance, excluding enrichment funding and, as they existed on January 1, 2009, that would have been received for the school during the 2009-2010 school year under Chapter 42 as it existed on January 1, 2009, and an additional amount of the percentage specified by Section 42.2516(i) multiplied by $120 for each student in weighted average daily attendance; or
(2)  the amount of funding per student in weighted average daily attendance, excluding enrichment funding to which the charter holder would be entitled for the school under Chapter 42 if the school were a school district without a tier one local share and without any local revenue for purposes of Section 42.2516.
Utah A conversion charter school sponsored by a local school board receives its funding on the same basis as it did prior to its conversion. A charter school sponsored by a local school board and located in a school district facility receives its funding on the same basis as other public schools in the school district. Any other charter schools sponsored by a local school board and charter schools sponsored by the state charter school board receive their funds on the same basis as a school district receives funds.
Virginia 100% of per-pupil funding, with fees negotiated
Washington  Allocations are based on the statewide average staff mix ratio of all noncharter public schools from the prior school year and the school's actual full-time equivalent enrollment. Categorical funding is allocated based on the same funding criteria used for noncharter public schools and the funds must be expended as provided in the charter contract. 
Wisconsin A charter school authorized by a city, university or technical college receives an amount equal to the sum of the amount paid per pupil in the previous school year and the amount of revenue increase per pupil allowed in the current school year, multiplied by the number of pupils attending the charter school. The funding for a charter school authorized by a local school board is determined through negotiations between the charter school and the local school board.
Wyoming Charter schools are guaranteed 100% of funding generated by the charter school's average daily membership, minus certain adjustments. Charters also receive 100% of major maintenance payments and any other funding negotiated with the school district.
Puerto Rico The secretary of education determines the per-pupil funding level for charter schools.


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