Another distortion of charter schools’ “Cost”

Jim McCaffrey’s article in the Evening Bulletin continues the assault that charter schools “cost too much”. Yet this is a distortion of the truth. School districts continue to complain about the “expense” of charter schools – but fail to mention that money is going to the education of children. Given that taxpayers money is collected for the purpose of educating children, we feel that charter school students are equally deserving of funding as those in district-run schools.

Yet conveniently missing from this article is mention that charter schools get only a fraction of the funding, per-pupil, that districts spend. The article mentions that Philadelphia charter schools will receive $221 million for their 26,560 student, but doesn’t mention that this represents 13% of Philadelphia students – but less than 9% of spending. In 2005-06, the Philadelphia City School Districts spent $11,500 per-child, but Philadelphia charters received only $7,600 per-pupil. Chester-Upland, also mentioned in the article, spent $12,800 per-pupil, but gave only $6,400 per-pupil to charter schools.

The article mentions that charter schools students perform better on standardized tests yet paints this as a negative, as charter school scores aren’t “that much” better. But this performance is in spite of the fact that charter schools receive far less funding per-pupil, and typically take on a higher proportion of low-income students, special needs students, and students struggling in traditional public schools.

Thus, charter schools not only help to reduce class size, overcrowding, and the need for new construction, and take on difficult to educate students, but they also increase per pupil spending in district schools. Above all, they save taxpayers money.

For more on school districts spending in relation to charter and cyber schools check out:
Edifice Complex: Where Has All the Money Gone?
Public Cyber Schools Save Taxpayers’ Money
The Public Schools’ Edifice Complex
The Truth About Cyber Schools