Thursday, April 14, 2011

As we learned in class, charter school's are their own district but have no geographic boundaries, instead they are operated as a Nonprofit Corporation or as a Cooperative. Charter schools are funded by the State in the same manner traditional schools are, except for revenues generated by local property tax levies, they may not levy taxes. Charter schools receive their funding from the state based on the average state per pupil revenue. When a child leaves a district school for a charter school the money follows that child. As part of the formula charter schools also receive state funding based on the statewide average property tax amount to make up for the lack of local funding other public schools get. Even with this taken into account certain area charter schools have a higher funding disparity than their neighboring traditional schools. This is very true for some Minnesota districts as the figure below shows.

Over the years many analyses of Minnesota charter schools raised questions about the schools' administration and performance. Some found that charter schools in Minnesota perform worse on average than comparable public schools and that they have intensified racial and economic segregation in the Twin Cities schools. The 2009 Minnesota Legislature responded to these concerns by passing a law that provides additional oversight of charter school administration, operations and finance.

Now each charter school has an authorizer which is charged with monitoring and evaluating fiscal, operational and student performance of the school. Authorizers can be traditional school districts, MN colleges and universities or non-profits who meet certain requirements.

When surveyed almost half of administrators and teachers in charter schools cited lack of funds as one of the most significant barriers to student achievement. There are mixed results of various studies showing charter schools doing better, the same or worse than traditional schools with low-income students.

Many studies have been done to try and answer how charter schools are doing in relation to traditional schools in different areas. Here are some of the them. Read up and decide for yourself!

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