Solving the Charter School Funding Gap: The Seven Major Causes and What to Do About Them

Center for Education Reform

This short paper by CER, released the week after Fordham's Charter School Funding: Inequity's Next Frontier, provides insight into the reasons charters are shortchanged when school funds are doled out. They frequently lack access to facilities funds and cannot participate in local bond measures. Moreover, school districts often have the power to withhold funds from charters or exclude them from categorical programs. District schools benefit from "hold harmless" clauses that allow them to retain funds for services ostensibly provided to charters, such as transportation, and minimize the impact on districts of losing funds to charters. Perhaps the most pressing problem is one that CER describes as "funding flow," such that "even when the law specifies a percentage of funds should go to the charter, this does not necessarily occur," because the state itself does not control the money - local funds are kept by districts and not shared with charters. CER lays out a variety of solutions, which boil down to improving state legislation and management so that charters get their fair share. We heartily concur. You can find it online here.

Eric Osberg is a Vice President and Treasurer at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute