The Financial Case for Charter Schools – Stronger Evidence it Makes Fiscal Sense


Recently I published a post regarding what appears to be a strong financial case for moving forward with approving Charter Schools. As I have expanded the analysis of the FY13 Proposed Budget for APS, it appears that the financial case is even stronger than I previously thought.

Below is a chart showing the cost per student in the APS system and the cost to APS for a student in a Charter School. It costs APS $14,426 per student for Instructions and Operations plus an additional $1,060 for General Administration, for a total of $15,485 per student.

As shown above, the cost to APS for funding a Charter School student is $9,484** plus APS incurs administrative expenses of $390 per Charter School student, for a total cost of $9,874 per student in the Charter School system. That is a whopping savings of $5,611 per student. Now that’s a deal!

The Drew Charter High School, now under consideration by the Board of Education, would ultimately enroll up to 650 students. With the per student savings noted above, that comes to nearly $3.7 million per year in lower costs to APS. Now I realize that APS would have to take certain steps to downsize areas of administration and operations to realize that savings, but isn’t the fact that this is a great deal for the taxpayers a strong consideration for moving forward with the Drew plan? I think so.

** The cost per student is estimated based on the most recent number of Charter School students published by APS (4,008 in FY11) and is extrapolated to FY13

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