Right now it seems choice, private and charter schools are dividing our public support for referendums in this case to help provide funding for operating expenses. I think the best thing that could happen would be to have all parents and school leaders get together to compare notes and learn from each other.
However, this post is meant to share insight on the amount of monies which goes from a public district school to another school whether choice or charter.
Charters receive their funding from their host districts based on the district’s operating expenditures in the prior fiscal year. That is also true for the Districts in terms of funding they receive from the State of Delaware, it is determined by State operating expenses in the prior fiscal year. For the 2015-16 school year, Christina received State funds that were based on a State funding formulas and operating expenditures the State made on Christina in 2014-15. So the State share of funding that passes to Charters is calculated the very same way.
If Districts spend more on their students, Charters/Choice schools receive more for their students the following year, if expenses are reduced in the District, Charters/Choice schools expenses will be reduced the following year.
Below is a capture of the local operating expenses Districts are required to provide for each of the 6 types of student need categories (as determined by the Delaware Dept of Education) for FY15 and FY16.
The first 3 (Pre KN, KN-3, 4-12) are for general ed students who require no special ed services or programs. These are collected via the operating tax (which is subject to referendum). The last 3 (Basic, Intensive and Complex) are special education categories for students requiring higher levels of services and support and they are collected by a tuition tax component of our tax bill, not subject to referendum.
A general ed first grader in Keene Elementary receives $3,817.38 from local funds in FY16. A general ed first grader in Aspira Academy receives $3,817.38 from local funds in FY17.
Similarly, a Basic special education needs 3rd grader in McVey Elementary receives $7,362.10 from local funds in FY16, and a basic special education needs student in Newark Charter receives $7,362.10 in local funds in FY17. If one school has a higher percentage of students who require basic special education then yes that school will need more funding. Makes sense, right?
If operating funds continue to decrease there will be a smaller amount to split among students. Which means students who choice out of the district to charter or to another public school will be getting less money as well. There is a one year delay because Charter/Choice funding is based on the previous year funding. Therefore, Charter schools who get operating funds from the Christina School District will feel the financial impact next year after the $9.5 million in budget cuts from last year.
The best thing we can do for all of our kids is to learn to work together instead of fighting each other. For instance, one thing we do see working for Charter schools is that smaller class sizes truly do benefit students. One of the key components of the Paving the Way Christina referendum is to restore teachers and bring class sizes back down.
End point. Supporting the Christina School District in their operating referendum on March 23 also helps to support ALL students who live in the district and attend a public school even if they have choiced out of the Christina district.