Opposition to New Charter High School Proposal – The Financial Analysis Says Do it NOW!

Today’s AJC has an article regarding the proposed new Drew Charter High School. In the article, Superintendent Davis “said the district is open to new charter schools, but he doesn’t see how Drew’s proposed high school will meet a need that traditional schools cannot”. Let’s consider the proposed Charter School from a financial standpoint.

Excluding the monies spent for Charter Schools, currently the APS System’s General Fund spends over $171 million (36.1% of the FY13 Proposed Budget) for General Administration, Operations and School Administration functions. That works out to be approximately $3,750 per student based on the projected enrollment for FY13. More importantly, the administration and operations functions amount to 57% of the total amount spent on direct instruction. To further clarify this, for each $1.00 spent on direct instruction, the APS spends $0.57 to administer and support the direct instruction function.

Now let’s compare that cost to what APS is spending on Charter Schools. APS contributes a certain amount of funding it receives from the State and City and the amount is based on a specified formula. In FY13, the amount is budgeted at $44 million. Additionally, APS has approximately $2.2 million budgeted for all the administrative, monitoring and other functions it performs for the Charter Schools (includes Special Revenue Fund allocations). That works out to be approximately 5.1% of the amount spent on direct Charter School funding.

So let’s get this straight – APS will spend 36.1% of its funds to administer and operate a school – plus the cost of teachers, or it can spend 5.1% to administer the Charter School system and offload all the other costs. That’s a deal that I would take in a heartbeat. Will the Board of Education see it the same way? Or is “control” more important to them?

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