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Uncovering the Truth: Charter School Funding



This will be the first piece in a series of articles aimed at dispelling the myths often used to challenge charter schools. With a growing number of these schools being established within Ohio’s borders, it is important for parents, students, and taxpayers to understand exactly what a charter school is and how it affects public education.

Many of the myths surrounding charter schools are rooted in finances. From where do charter schools obtain their funding? How do these funding formulas affect traditional public schools?

1. Source of Funds. Charter schools receive state and federal taxes to fund operations and instruction. Contrary to many critics’ claims, they do not receive local property taxes. Because of this difference, charter schools actually receive less money per pupil than traditional public schools.

To make up for this funding gap, charter schools often seek funding from private foundations and grantmakers.

2. The Effect. Critics also assert the presence of a charter school strips money away from the existing public schools in that district. However, because charter schools do not receive local property taxes, the traditional public schools actually end up with more money to spend per pupil. Although state and federal taxes follow the students to the charter school, the local taxes remain with the district school. They have lost some funding, but they also have one less student to educate. This increases the amount that may be spent on the remaining students enrolled in the school.