CharterNation Blog

A place for California parents to connect with the charter public school community

Here’s the reality about the impact of charter school funding

For years now, opponents have attacked charter schools, claiming charter families impact school district funding. They insist that the growing number of families—often Black, Latinx, and low-income-- choosing quality charter schools is draining funds away from traditional district schools and leaving districts in financial distress.

This simply isn’t true. The fact is, we know from a report released last year by the Center for Reinventing Public Education, that there is no evidence that charter public schools, which make up just over 10 percent of schools in our state, are to blame for fiscal distress in California school districts. More from the report:

“Based on state data, we find no relationship between the share of students enrolled in charter schools and the likelihood school districts will enter fiscal distress. Between 1998 and 2015, an average of just 1.5 percent of school districts where charter schools enroll more than 10 percent of students entered fiscal distress.”

The report went on to say that charter schools have important benefits for California communities and limited costs to the state:  

“For example, in Southern California and the Bay Area, they have been shown to lift student achievement in reading and math—and particularly for students who are black, Hispanic, and living in poverty. These benefits should be considered alongside any costs.”

Further, charter schools are public schools that receive less federal and state funding than traditional district schools. One study found that Los Angeles charter schools received an average of $4,000 less per student than LA traditional public schools. Despite this reality, charter schools continue to strengthen our education system by offering more students, especially those from underserved communities, the opportunity to receive a quality education.

These lines of attacks will no doubt continue to be launched by powerful opponents wanting to undermine charter schools and the families they serve. All of us in CharterNation should do our part to push back on these attacks and offer up facts that bring much-needed clarity to the conversation around charter schools. You can start today by sharing this graphic!