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

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

January 2016


At the present time, 43 states and the District of Columbia have enacted charter school laws, so this database contains information only for them. It does not contain any information for the 7 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?
Alabama Public charter schools receive 100% of federal funds, 100% of state funds, and up to ten mills of local funds associated with each child enrolled at the public charter school. All local money above and beyond the ten mill match remains with the local school system.
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 a student 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 are given equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding. 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 Conversion charter schools are considered a part of the school district and receive funds equal to the amount apportioned by the district from state and local revenue per average daily membership.

Open-enrollment charter schools receive funds equal to the amount that a public school would receive, as well as any other funding that the public charter school is entitled to receive, except they do not have access to local revenue from property taxes. Funding for open-enrollment charter schools is determined annually by the state board of education.
California Charter schools receive a combination of state aid and local funds according to the same weighted student funding formula applied to traditional public schools. Charter schools are eligible for a transfer of funds from their sponsoring school districts in lieu of property taxes.
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%. In districts with 500 or fewer students, charter schools receive either 100% minus the administrative fees or 85% of the district per-pupil revenue, whichever is greater.

For charter schools authorized by the state charter institute, 100% of the per-pupil revenue flows to charter schools, less up to 3% for the state charter school institute's administrative costs and up to 1% for the state department of education's administrative costs.
Connecticut For local charter schools, the school district is responsible for funding the schools at a level at least equal to the product of the per-pupil cost for the fiscal year two years prior to the fiscal year for which support will be provided and the number of students in the charter in the current fiscal year. In addition, the state board may approve a per-pupil 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 a per-pupil amount to the town in which a state charter school is located; however, funding for state charter schools is directly dependent on the state's annual appropriation.

Charter schools are eligible for categorical federal and state funds.
Delaware State funding for charter schools is based on the unit funding formula used for traditional public schools. Local funding is based on the previous year’s per-pupil expenditure in a student's school district of residence.
District of Columbia State funding for charter schools is based on the unit funding formula used 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. Federal, state, local, discretionary lottery and discretionary millage levy funds are allocated according to the same funding formula as funds allocated to other public schools.
Georgia State funding for charter schools is based on the funding formula used for traditional public schools. Authorizers can deduct up to 3% of charter funding for administrative fees. Charter schools are entitled to a proportionate share of all state grants except state equalization grants.

Although funding for state chartered special schools is subject to state appropriation, these schools must also be treated consistently with traditional public schools pursuant to the funding formula and grants. State-chartered special schools do not receive local tax dollars, unless approved by the voters of the school district.
Hawaii General per-pupil funding for charter school students should be the same as that allocated for traditional public school students. In addition, the state director of finance is authorized to transfer additional general fund money to charter schools as needed. Charter schools are eligible for all federal financial support to the same extent as traditional public schools. Charter schools may elect to use the traditional student funding formula or propose an alternative formula to their authorizer.
Idaho Charter schools receive funds from the same state funding formula as traditional public schools. Funding is limited to state sources and federal dollars. Charter schools may qualify for alternative school support monies if they meet certain statutory requirements.
Illinois Funding is negotiated with the sponsoring school district and specified in the charter, but must not be less than 75% or more than 125% of the per-pupil funding for traditional public schools. Charter schools may apply for any grant administered by the state board that is available to school districts. The state commission can charge a charter school it authorizes up to 3% the school’s revenue to cover administration costs.
Indiana Charter schools receive the same state and federal funding as traditional public schools. Authorizers can withhold up to 3% for administrative fees.
Iowa A charter school is considered a part of the school district in which it is located for purposes of state school foundation aid. Funding is specified in the charter.
Kansas The law does not specify how charter schools are funded, leaving it at the discretion of the school district. A petition to establish a charter school must outline the proposed school budget and include a description of how the budget will be funded if federal funds are not available.
Louisiana Charter schools fall into five categories, and there is some variation in funding requirements depending upon the charter type. All charter schools receive a state-funded base allocation according to a weighted student membership count, and have access to local revenues and all applicable federal and state categorical funding. Authorizers can charge a 2% fee for administrative costs. New and conversion schools authorized by a local school board may agree to a lesser per-pupil amount in exchange for services provided to the charter.
Maine State and local funding for charter schools is based on the same weighted unit funding rate used for the resident school district. In charter schools authorized by the commission with students from more than one resident school district, the weighted unit funding formula for each is applied to create a revised weighted unit average. Charter schools are not permitted to levy taxes or issue bonds. Authorizers are allowed to take a 3% authorizer fee in addition to a 1% fee that is retained by the district.
Maryland Charter schools receive an amount of county, state and federal money that is commensurate with the amount disbursed to other public schools in the local jurisdiction. In addition, the state board or the county board may give surplus educational materials, supplies, furniture and other equipment to a charter school.
Massachusetts Horace Mann charter schools receive a tuition amount that is determined annually as part of their local school committee's budget process. Funding levels deemed inequitable can be appealed to the commissioner.

Commonwealth charter schools receive a tuition amount which is the sum of the per-pupil amount from each district sending students to the charter school. Tuition amounts for each sending district must be adjusted to reflect, as much as practicable, the actual per-pupil spending amount that would be expended in the district if the students attended the district schools.

Charter schools have equal access to all applicable categorical federal and state funding. School districts are eligible to receive full or partial reimbursement of charter school expenses from state appropriations. The reimbursement amount is equal to 100% of the increase in the year it occurs, and 25% in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th years following. Cumulative surplus revenue in excess of 20% of a charter school’s operating budget and capital costs must be returned by the charter school to the sending district or districts and the state in proportion to their share of tuition paid during the fiscal year.
Michigan Charter schools receive a base per-pupil funding equal to that of the district in which the school is located, or the state maximum charter school allocation, whichever is less. Authorizers can collect 3% of funding for monitoring and administrative expenses. Charter schools may access state and federal grants in the same manner as local school districts.
Minnesota A charter school receives general education revenue as though it were a school district. A charter school is eligible to receive other aids, grants, and revenue as though it were a school district unless a levy is required to obtain the aid, grant or revenue.
Mississippi Charter schools receive a per-pupil amount from the state department equal to the state share for each student in the school district in which the charter school is located. The local contribution amount received is proportionate to that in the school district in which the charter school student resides. The school district in which a charter school is located pays directly to the charter school a per-pupil amount 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 include all levies for the support of the school district. The state department is required to direct the proportionate share of monies generated under federal and state categorical aid programs to charter schools serving students eligible for such aid. The state authorizer receives a 3% annual fee of each charter school’s per-pupil funding.
Missouri Charter schools receive per-pupil funding in accordance with the state funding formula as well as federal and state categorical aid. The state department of education retains 1.5% of a charter school’s state and local funding (not to exceed $125,000) for administrative fees and gives the retained amount to the charter school’s authorizer.
Nevada Charter schools receive per-pupil funding in accordance with the state funding formula. Charter schools are entitled to receive a 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. Authorizers can deduct up to 2% of the total amount of money apportioned to the charter school for administrative fees, but charter schools meeting certain requirements can request to lower the amount retained.
New Hampshire Charter schools authorized by a local school district receive per-pupil funding that cannot be less than 80% of the district’s average cost per-pupil.

All other charter schools receive the state’s annual per-pupil funding amount plus adequacy and disparity aid. Charter schools are eligible for all applicable categorical funding.
New Jersey Charter schools receive 90% of per-pupil funds budgeted for the current school year and the pre-budget year general fund tax levy per-pupil inflated by the CPI rate most recent to when the calculation is made. Charter schools also receive the federal and state categorical program funds attributed to the student.

For students not included in the district’s projected resident enrollment for the school year, the state pays 100% of the amount required for the first year.
New Mexico Charter schools cannot receive less than 98% of the school-generated program costs. Authorizers may deduct up to 2% of the school-generated program cost for administrative fees. Charter schools receive all state and federal funding for which they are eligible.
New York Charter schools receive basic funding according to the student’s resident district per-pupil allocation. Charter schools serving students from more than one district receive basic funding according to multiple districts’ per-pupil allocations. Charter schools also receive a supplemental tuition amount.
North Carolina Charter schools receive base funds equal to the average per-pupil allocation from the district in which the school is located, with additional funds for students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency. In addition, the school district in which a charter school student 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 Charter schools receive state foundation aid based on full-time enrollment and targeted assistance aid for career-technical, special education, economically disadvantaged, and limited English proficiency students. Although charter schools cannot levy taxes or issue bonds secured by tax revenues, school districts can levy taxes for charter schools sponsored by exemplary sponsors. Authorizers can retain up to 3% of the total amount of payments for operating expenses that the charter school receives for administration fees.
Oklahoma Charter schools receive the state aid allocation and any other state-appropriated revenue generated for their students according to the same state aid funding formula as traditional public schools. Authorizers can deduct up to 5% administrative fees from the school’s state aid allocation. Charter schools are eligible to receive any other aid, grants or revenues allowed to traditional public schools. The governing body of a charter school cannot levy taxes or issue bonds.
Oregon Charter schools authorized by the local school district receive an amount at least equal to 80% of average daily membership for students in grades K-8 and 95% for students in grades 9-12.

Charter schools authorized by the state department of education or institutions of higher learning within the boundaries of local school districts receive an amount at least equal to 90% of average daily membership for students in grades K-8 and 95% for students in grades 9-12.

Authorizers can retain up to 20% of funding for K-8 students and up to 5% of funding for 9-12 students for administrative fees.
Pennsylvania Charter schools receive no less than the average district per-pupil budgeted expenditure of the previous school year, minus the budgeted expenditures for nonpublic school programs, adult education programs, community/junior college programs, student transportation services, special education programs, facilities acquisition, construction and improvement services, and other financing uses.
Rhode Island Funding for each charter school consists of state revenue and municipal or district revenue in the same proportions that funding is provided for other schools within the sending school district(s). Funding is equal to a percentage of the total budgeted expenses of the sending school district(s), determined by dividing the number of students enrolled in the district charter school by the total resident average daily number of students in the sending school district(s). Funding additional to that authorized from the sending school district(s) can be allocated to the charter school from the sending school district(s) to the extent that the combined percentage of students eligible for free or reduced cost lunch, students with limited English proficiency, and students requiring special education exceed the combined percentage of those students in the sending school district(s) as a whole. A charter school is eligible to receive other aids, grants, Medicaid revenue, federal aid and other revenue as though it were a school district.
South Carolina District-authorized charter schools receive state, county and district funding according to the same formula as local school districts. Charter schools authorized by the South Carolina Public Charter School District or universities are provided funding by the General Assembly. Charter schools are entitled to receive federal funds on the basis of the number of special characteristics of the students in attendance, and are entitled to a proportional share of federal or state categorical aid funds for which the school qualifies.
Tennessee District-authorized charter schools receive an amount equal to the per-pupil state and local funds received by the school district and all appropriate allocations under federal law or regulation. Allocations must be based on 100% of state and local funds received by the school district, including current funds allocated for capital outlay purposes, but excluding the proceeds of debt obligations and associated debt service. Allocations to the charter school cannot be reduced by the school district for administrative, indirect, or any other category of cost or charge except as specifically provided in a charter agreement.

State board-authorized charter schools receive funding according to the same provisions, except that the district in which the charter school operates pays to the department 100% of the per-pupil share of the local and federal funding that is due to the charter school, the department withholds from the district 100% of the per-pupil share of state and the federal funding in the custody of the department that is due to the charter school, and 100% of these funds are disbursed to the charter school.
Texas Like traditional public schools, charter schools are funded through a two tier system. Tier I allocations are determined by substituting the statewide average adjusted allotment in place of the district's calculated adjusted allotment. Tier II allocations are determined by substituting a statewide average enrichment tax rate in place of the district's calculated enrichment tax rate.
Utah A charter school that is converted from a district school receives funding on the same basis as it did prior to its conversion. A district-authorized charter school operating in a facility owned by the school district and not paying reasonable rent to the district receives funding on the same basis as other district schools receive funding.

All other charter schools receive their funds on the same basis as a school district receives funds, except with regards to student counts and weights. Subject to budget constraints, the Legislature provides a per-pupil appropriation to supplement the district allocation. An additional state supplement is provided if the total district allocation and the supplement amount provided by the state is less than $1,427 per-pupil. The additional supplement is allocated among charter schools in proportion to each charter school's enrollment as a percentage of the total enrollment in charter schools.

Charter schools are eligible for federal money designated for charter schools.
Virginia The local school board establishes by contract an agreement stating the conditions for funding the charter school. Generally, funding levels are commensurate with the school-based costs of educating students in traditional public schools, unless the cost of operating the charter is less.
Washington The Washington Supreme Court found the state's charter school laws unconstitutional in their 2015 ruling in League of Women Voters v. State of Washington.
Wisconsin A charter school authorized by a city, county, university or technical college receives a per-pupil amount determined by the state. The law does not specify how charter schools authorized by the district are funded. The school funding formula is updated regularly and is used to calculate funding for charter and traditional public schools.
Wyoming Charter schools are guaranteed 100% of foundation program funding generated by the charter school's average daily membership less any district level amounts generated by the charter school's membership, 100% of the charter school’s proportion of major maintenance payments based upon the proportion that the charter school educational building gross square footage contributes to the district educational building gross square footage, and 100% of the amount generated by the payroll of the charter school’s employees in allocating any school district salary adjustment. An applicant charter school may also be funded through a specific budget mutually agreed upon by the school district and the charter school.


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