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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Charters get $5,721 less per student

Charter schools in 14 cities received an average of $5,721 less per student in federal, state, local and private funding than district-run schools in 2013-14, concludes a University of Arkansas study.

The funding gap averaged 29 percent. Public charter schools in Camden, New Jersey received 45 percent less than district schools, $14,771 less per student. Washington, D.C. charters received $13,874 less per student.

Camden charter schools receive 45 percent less funding per student than district schools, while achieving higher test scores.

Charter schools enrolled fewer special-education students, researchers said, but that explained the funding gap only in Atlanta and Boston.

Private funding varied greatly. It closed the funding gap only in Memphis.

The authors have faced criticism from those who argue that districts face expenses — such as busing students — that charters may not, notes The 74.

The authors respond that spending mandates for  traditional public schools (TPS) “is a discretionary policy of decisionmakers. If it is a cause of inefficiency in TPS operations relative to charters, then policymakers, informed by our research, could reduce it.”

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