Funded: Charters is a web tool that aggregates and standardizes information regarding each state’s charter school funding laws. The intent of this site is to enable better state-to-state comparisons and provide easy access to detailed information related to state charter school funding policies and reporting practices.
In almost every state, the state calculates how much each school district will need using a funding formula and distributes a corresponding amount of state aid to districts. Some charter schools act as their own school districts, while others act as schools within districts. Some states fund charter schools based on the formula that states use for traditional public schools, while other states fund charter schools through a distinct formula.
Funded: Charters displays information related to the most common elements of charter funding formulas on national maps and state pages, organized by the general categories below. Explore the tool using the navigation bar above to see at-a-glance national maps, detailed state comparisons, and downloadable reports.
How Charter Schools are Funded
States with charter schools must set policies for how charter schools are funded. Charter schools may be funded through the same formula as the one used to fund traditional public schools, with few modifications, by estimating how much school districts actually receive or spend, or through a different formula entirely. In many states, traditional public schools rely heavily on revenue from local taxes, particularly local property taxes. States must also decide if charter schools have access to these sources of local revenue or if the state will provide an alternate form of state funding for charter schools.
In the section, learn about how charter funding is calculated and about charter schools’ access to revenue from local taxes.
Traditional public schools receive funding through and from school districts, which themselves receive funding from the state. Charter schools may receive their funding directly from the state, have their funding passed through local school districts, or some combination of the above. At a step in the process, the state and/or a local school district may have the authority to withhold a portion of charter funding for a variety of purposes.
In the section, explore the process by which charter schools receive their funding.
Data and Reporting
The way that states report basic data on charter schools varies widely and presents a challenge for researchers. In some states, charter schools report data on their student count, funding, and expenditures independently. In other states, data on charter schools is included as part of data of a traditional public school district.
In this section, learn how states report data on charter schools.