[This is a continuation of a five part series on APS’s position on charter schools]
As I have noted here several times before, the amount spent on a charter school student is far less than the amount spent on a non-charter school student. The difference amounts to approximately $2,700 per student and – when taking all revenue sources into account – the difference is much more.
Charter schools essentially have to fund the cost of their own administration, the cost of facilities operations and – in many cases – the cost of building facilities. Charter schools do receive a share of the local revenues and State QBE revenues. However, they do not receive SPLOST funds or a share of any other revenues received by APS.
The resulting disparity between what is spent on a non-charter school student and a charter school student is very significant, but the charter schools still are able to operate with less.
Because they usually have a strong base of support from parents and the community they serve. They operate far more efficiently and stretch every dollar to the limit. Most importantly, they get the job done at least as well as APS – and in many instances they get far better results.
So, if it costs APS less to fund a charter school than it does to do the job themselves, why aren’t charter schools expanding dramatically in the system? The reason, as I noted in the first installment of this series, is that the primary cost savings of granting charters is the reduced need for APS administrators. And as I noted, APS is fighting this tooth and nail.
But the financial case is uncontested.
Charter schools cost taxpayers less – lower cost per student, almost no cost for administration and charters pay for building operating costs. And the educational outcomes achieved at a lower cost? They are as good as or better than non-charters in the APS system.
For regular readers of this blog, you are aware of the APS continuing deficit spending and the looming fiscal cliff they are facing in FY15. The cost savings gained from granting valid charter school petitions is simply one step towards reducing deficits and returning to the system to fiscal health.