Charters get $3,800 less per student

Charter schools receive $3,800 less per pupil or about $1.5 million less for the average charter school than district-run schools, concludes Charter Funding: Inequity Expands, a University of Arkansas study. The funding gap — 28.4 percent —  is growing.

Public charter schools receive only an average of $1,819 per pupil from local government sources while traditional public schools receive a whopping $5,222. On average, charters get somewhat more state money than traditional public schools, while receiving somewhat less federal money. Although there is a perception that public charter schools are handsomely funded by private sources, our research shows that traditional public schools received slightly more private funds per-pupil in 2010?11 than public charter schools.

Tennessee is the only state that provides equal funding to students in charter and traditional public schools.

Urban charter schools, which have been shown to be the most effective in recent studies, suffer from the largest funding gap, the study found.

About Joanne


  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    People who do more with less are the deadly enemies of those who do less with more.
    It’s all so clear, now.

  2. Charters also don’t get the extra funding for identifying spec ed kids that “regular” public schools do, so there’s no financial incentive to classify kids. Does anyone know if they get the same additional Title I (I think) money for low-income kids that the “regulars” do?

  3. Mike B says:
  4. PhillipMarlowe says:

    Wall Street Helped Raise $7.75 Million For The Charter School At War With Mayor de Blasio Last Night

    Read more:

    • Roger Sweeny says:

      This reminds me of the bumper sticker, “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

      I wonder how many of those charter parents feel, “Why do we have to hit up rich people to pay our school’s expenses?”

      • PhillipMarlowe says:

        I wonder how many charter parents think, “Well, while those rich people like Walton don’t pay their workers much, at least they use their profits to help charter schools.”

  5. palisadesk says:

    This statement from Jay Greene’s blog that Joanne cites: “our research shows that traditional public schools received slightly more private funds per-pupil in 2010?11 than public charter schools” does not seem to be supported by the details of the actual study in question, which limits itself to examining sources of public money allocated to schools : see the technical report at

    Some charter schools, especially the ones with the biggest media profile, do receive significant additional funding from private foundations. That is the only way they can finance cell phones and accounts for all teachers, extensive use of private busing, in-school “stores” where students can obtain laptops and field trips by earning points based on behavior and achievement, and other benefits not affordable within the allocated public money. What this does is exacerbate the differences *between* different charter schools, which are far greater than between charters as a group and public schools as a group.

  6. Mike in Texas says: