Charter School Funding
Report 22-11, December 2022
- For the purpose of this study, OPPAGA defined equitable as fair and impartial allocations to best serve the interests of students being educated in public schools.
- OPPAGA’s analysis focused on the allocation of funds from the two largest local sources and the largest state source of public capital outlay funding—District Local Capital Improvement Taxes, School District Local Sales Taxes, and Charter School Capital Outlay funding. In Fiscal Year 2020-21, these funds represented 78.8% of the total funding available for capital outlay and accounted for $4.4 billion of capital outlay expenditures.
- Overall, school district and charter school opinions varied on the allocation of capital outlay funds. School districts were most likely to believe current capital outlay funding allocation methods are equitable, whereas charter schools most often were unsure if the funds are allocated equitably. Several charter school principals who felt that the current method is not equitable suggested approaches that they believed to be more equitable.
- OPPAGA recommends that the Legislature consider distributing capital outlay funding to charter schools based on demonstrated need, which would ensure that the most pressing construction, renovation, repair, and maintenance needs are addressed regardless of the type of public school a student attends. By including charter school facilities in the district plant survey required by s. 1013.31, Florida Statutes, school districts can work with charter schools to evaluate and prioritize the use of capital outlay funds from all sources for the most urgent capital projects and maintenance needs for both charter schools and traditional public schools. There are several considerations, including advantages and disadvantages, associated with this policy option.
- OPPAGA also examined the allocation of funds for seven federal programs classified by the Florida Department of Education as non-competitive, entitlement programs. In Fiscal Year 2020-21, these programs provided $1.7 billion to local education agencies to supplement educational programs. Of the small number of charter school principals who responded to OPPAGA’s survey, 50% indicated that they do not know if the federal funding allocation methodology is equitable.
- OPPAGA recommends that the department work with school districts to provide additional training and information to charter schools regarding eligibility requirements and fund distribution for the seven federal programs OPPAGA examined. This additional training and information would make the process more transparent to charter schools and could increase collaboration between school districts and charter schools in the application for and distribution of funds in a manner that would best serve all eligible public school students, teachers, and families.
Review of the Capital Outlay Facilities Space of Florida's State University System
Report 20-SUSFACI February 2020
Review of the Capital Outlay Facilities Space of Florida's College System
Report 20-FCSFACI June 2020
The State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF) Should Be Retained; Some Modifications Could Be Made
Report 17-04 January 2017
Special Facility Construction Projects Appear Needed, but Have Excess Capacity
Report 11-02 January 2011
facilities, capital, outlay, Title I, charter, millage, education, funding, tax, PECO, public school, allocation, traditional school, ESEA, elementary, FDOE, USDOE