How Charter School Funding Compares

Florida TaxWatch Center for Educational Performance and Accountability
01 Feb, 2015

Florida’s public charter schools have become a valuable, growing choice for Floridians seeking an alternative to traditional public school for their children. The state now contains 517 charter schools serving nearly 180,000 students. In fact, 1 out of every 15 Florida public school students attends a charter school.

However, because the charter school model is both a relatively new entrant to the state’s public education system and a rapidly expanding educational delivery option, there is much discussion—and confusion—concerning the differences in funding between charter schools and traditional district schools. Because of a variety of factors, questions of equal distribution of funding from federal, state, and local sources have emerged.

This Florida TaxWatch Research Report provides a brief background on the history, growth, and use of charter schools within the state, and explains how Florida’s public schools – both traditional and charter schools – are funded. The analysis demonstrates the differences in funding, and highlights current inequities present between charter and district school funding, and examines how charter schools are funded in a select few other states. From this, a number of possible policy choices to make funding for charter schools more equitable with traditional schools are presented.