University of Arkansas Office for Education Policy

Analyzing School Funding in Arkansas

In The View from the OEP on May 9, 2012 at 1:15 pm

This morning, the OEP posted a new policy brief that analyzes the funding for Arkansas’ traditional public schools and charter schools. Since a big chunk of funding follows students as they leave a traditional school district to attend a charter school, some school leaders are concerned that charter schools pull money away from the traditional public schools. Conversely, since charters do not have access to the capital funds available through the local millage, some fear that charters are inadequately funded and as such cannot provide their students, enrolled in a public school, with the facilities or other aspects of a high-quality education.

You can read the full brief here, but there are a few points of interest we would like to discuss in this post.

  • The average funding for charter schools is lower than the funding for traditional districts across the state
  • With a few exceptions, charter schools are funded at a lower level than are neighboring traditional school districts
  • Generally, the funding challenges facing charter schools revolve around facilities spending, since the standard Arkansas school funding formula does not account for facilities spending
  • Charter schools with funding levels closer to those of traditional districts (or even higher in a case or two) are generally those charter schools serving high concentrations of disadvantaged students

Check out the full policy brief in detail here.

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