Indiana charter schools could lose $100,000 in funding if federal appropriations bill passes, report says

Indiana charter schools could lose $100,000 in funding if federal appropriations bill passes, report says

October 25, 2021 0 By Margaret Menge

A new study shows a federal appropriations bill, if passed, could cut more than $100,000 from the budget of charter schools in Indiana and other states.

House Resolution 4502 proposes to remove all federal funding from charter schools that contract “with a for-profit entity to operate, oversee or manage the activities of the school.”

“The bill targets for-profit charter schools -– those that education management organizations (EMOs) manage – although it likely could affect nonprofit charter schools that contract with accounting firms, for-profit meal providers, janitorial companies, and other service providers,” says a report from education researchers who have been studying how charter schools in America are funded.

“While charter schools already receive significantly less funding than TPS take in, this bill proposes to increase that funding gap even further,” they write.

The report, “Charter School Funding: Dispelling Myths about EMOs, Expenditure Patterns, & Nonpublic Dollars” looked at the potential impact of the bill. It focused on charter schools in 18 cities, including Indianapolis.

In Indianapolis, the report found, education management organizations operated schools with less than half the funds traditional public schools have to spend.

As of last year, there were 65 charter schools operating in Indianapolis, most of them authorized by the mayor’s office.

Statewide in Indiana, more than 40,000 students attend charter schools.

If HR 4502 becomes law, charter schools could lose on average $1,131 per student in funding, the report found – which would amount to more than $100,000 in annual funding for a small charter school with 100 students.

Public schools in America are primarily funded by state and local governments, with the state government in Indiana funding schools through “tuition payments.” This funds teacher salaries, curriculum purchases and central administration salaries. Local property tax dollars fund school buildings for traditional public schools, but not charter schools, though Indiana provides separate funding for charter schools for capital improvements.

But public schools, including most charters, also get federal funds, for special education, for the school lunch program and for teachers for professional development under Title I, Title II and Title IV.

Unlike in most other states, Indiana allows several different organizations to authorize new charter schools. In Indianapolis, the mayor’s office is the authorizer for more than 40 charter schools. They include KIPP schools, classical schools and schools for adults operated by Goodwill Industries. Some are run by non-for-profit organizations and others are under for-profit companies.

The report was published by the School Choice Demonstration Project, part of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas.

This article was originally posted on Indiana charter schools could lose $100,000 in funding if federal appropriations bill passes, report says