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Charter school funding debate

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In the past, the state Board of Education could turn down an application for a new charter school simply because the state lacked money.

Charter schools receive more state dollars per student than public schools, because they don't have the added boost of local tax dollars to help cover costs.

For more information about how charter schools are funded, visit our issue page.

However, in 2013 the New Hampshire Legislature changed state law so that “Lack of state funding alone shall not constitute grounds for the denial of [a charter school] application.” 

If a charter school doesn’t get approved by the state Board of Education, the charter school can still seek alternate funding, from a local school board or private donors.

Should funding be a deciding factor?

Some policymakers maintain that funding should be a significant factor in the decision to authorize a new charter school, since there is arguably a shortage of funding for all public schools in the state.In recent years the Legislature has even tried to control costs by capping funding for fast-growing school districts, in part because of budget constraints.

If a student leaves a traditional public school for a charter school, the state portion of funding for that student follows them to the charter school, placing more strain on the budget for the traditional public school. The state then also makes an additional payment per charter school pupil, which places more pressure on the state budget.

Charter schools may cost less overall

Supporters of charter schools point out that they actually spend far less per student than traditional public schools. According to the New Hampshire Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the average spending per pupil in New Hampshire schools (state funding plus local taxpayer funding) is over $15,000. This is more than double the funding for charter schools, roughly $7,000 per pupil, though that number doesn't take into account any private donations or grant money a school is able to raise. 

Since charter schools approved by the state Board of Education do not get any local taxpayer money, they also are not taking any local dollars away from traditional public schools.

If the state Board of Education is able to deny charter schools solely on the basis of funding, they are denying students the opportunity to learn in innovative classrooms driven by cost efficiency and academic achievement.

Have your say!

Do you think the state Board of Education should be able to deny a new charter school based solely on a shortage of state money? Share your opinion in the comments below.


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Absolutely.. Yes...every child needs education with staff that can take the time to school them..every child is not raized equally .. therefore charter schools are the answer


The notion that US schools are performing poorly is false. It is derived from comparative ratings against other nations that fail to correct for two things:
1. Our K-12 programs educate all children regardless of career goals and social class, whereas other nations may consider only students on an academic career track (i.e. not vocational or associate career tracks).
2. Our nation has a relatively large gap between the rich and the poor than other developed nations.
If corrections for these are applied, our schools perform quite well indeed, particularly here in New England. US schools that perform poorly tend to exist in poor, segregated districts. The solution is to desegregate schools and provide more support to poor districts. The easiest thing to try first is to decouple public school funding from local property taxes. Instead, fund schools equitably from a state-wide pool on a per-student basis. This would ease performance gaps between rich and poor neighborhoods. We should also decrease admin salaries (admin, like CEOs, are paid way too much for the work they produce), pay teachers more (attract talented teachers!), and provide school breakfast and lunch (so that malnutrition isn't such a strong factor in depressing student performance). We should also stop wasting so much time testing students (another scam by the prep course industry) and *educate* students to help them all become good citizens. The charter school movement is a scam that exploits middle-class parents' admirable concerns for their children's well-being with trumped-up fear mongering along with an unhealthy dose of classism and racism.

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