Sen. Claitor’s SB 267 is awaiting the governor’s signature.
Changing How Charters Are Funded
Currently, Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 charter schools are funded using the AVERAGE per pupil amount in the MFP. Hence, they get the same amount of money for a student whether that student is a regular education student or a special education student.
SB 267 changes charter funding in two ways:
1. It requires Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 charters to be funded based on the money inside the formula for the individual students they educate – not the average.
- Money will still follow the student, but the amount of money will better reflect the cost budgeted in the MFP for that student. For a charter school that has a lower percentage of special needs students than the district, this change will lower the amount of money the school receives. If a charter exceeds the average, it will get more money.
Educate Now! agrees with this funding change. If a school is not educating special needs students, then they should not get the extra money the state allocates for these students. In New Orleans, we have some charters that enroll less than 5% special education students and others that have more than 20%. The amount of money schools receive should reflect these differences.
2. It requires the Department of Education to facilitate a process to move all charter schools in Orleans Parish to the same funding formula.
- The RSD already funds its charters (Type 5 and 3B) based on the individual students they educate instead of the district average, but the RSD uses different funding categories than the MFP formula, putting much more emphasis on the cost of special needs students and not giving schools extra funding for poor students or gifted and talented students. SB 167 requires the state to work with OPSB, RSD and the Charter School Association to create one formula that would apply to all charter schools in New Orleans (Type 1, 2, 3, 3B, 4 and 5).
Educate Now! believes it makes sense that the same amount of money should follow a student irrespective of what type of charter school the student attends. Moreover, if/when RSD schools return to OPSB, all the schools under OPSB should be funded using the same formula. Nevertheless, creating one formula will not be easy!
OPSB Policy A126
Superintendent Henderson Lewis is addressing this need through Policy A126. A126 outlines the expectations for OPSB charters around autonomy, board composition, finances, admissions, enrollment, discipline, and transportation. Two areas will be most contentious:
- OneApp: Policy A126 requires all OPSB charters to participate in the common enrollment upon their charter renewal. While OPSB passed a resolution requiring this in 2012, A126 would put the requirement in policy. Audubon, Einstein (some grades), Franklin HS, Hynes, Lake Forest, Lusher, Moton and Warren Easton are not in OneApp.
- Transportation: Currently, every RSD and OPSB school provides students with free transportation except: Audubon, Einstein, Hynes, Lake Forest and Lusher.
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