Charter schools receive 29 percent less funding per student, on average, than do traditional public schools, a report from the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas’ Department of Education Reform finds.
Funded by the Walton Family Foundation, which in 2016 pledged to invest $1 billion in charter schools, the report, Charter School Funding: Inequity in the City (42 pages, PDF), found that in fourteen metropolitan areas, charter schools received, on average, $5,721 less per student in fiscal year 2014 than did traditional public schools, while in Shelby County, Tennessee, which includes Memphis, charter schools received 9 percent more, thanks to philanthropic support. Funding disparities in other areas ranged from 2 percent in Houston to 45 percent in Camden, New Jersey. In only two cities, the report notes, could the funding gap be explained by the higher number of special-needs students in district schools.
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