A Closer Look: Do charter schools really receive 25% less funding per student than school districts?
Charter school advocates contend that charter schools get less money per student for education than school districts and that charter schools, on average, receive 25% less funding per student. To unlock this myth, it is important to understand the revenue and the reasons surrounding charter school funding issues. On a per-student basis, charter schools receive roughly 6.1% less revenue per student than school districts. So, yes, charter schools receive less funding per student than school districts, but the actual difference is nearly one-third of the 25% claimed by charter schools, and the reasons for the difference are clear and fair given that charter schools directly receive some of the same state and federal funding as school districts. Further, charter schools are exempt or granted flexibility from many of the costliest mandates that drive school district spending, so they should operate with less funding. Even with less funding, there is ample evidence that charter schools are being overpaid, especially for special education and cyber charter students. It is time to dispel the myths about charter school funding and talk about real funding reform that would save school districts and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year.