All tax dollars allocated on a per-pupil basis follow the child.
Charters and districts can, and often do, pursue the same non-tax revenue sources, such as grants and reimbursements (more examples are listed above) that fit their students’ needs.
Program-specific grants have to be used for their intended purpose. Those types of grants that districts apply for and receive are currently not shared with charter schools, just as charter schools do not share their grant money with school districts – in part because there’s no way to guarantee the other entity will spend the grant money for its intended purpose.
Charter advocates are now lobbying lawmakers to pass bills that forces school districts to share its program-specific funding with charter schools while allowing charter schools to keep every cent of its program-specific funding. That is not equitable funding.
A list of other funds advocates are trying to funnel from school districts to charter schools includes:
- Grants tied to programs charters don’t necessarily offer.
- Federal dollars meant to offset additional costs of offering a specific program. Example: costs associated with providing free and reduced-price meals for which charters (i) also receive federal dollars or (ii) don’t provide the program and should not receive funds meant to offset costs for a program they don’t offer.
- Federal reimbursements. Example: districts and charters can receive reimbursements for technology infrastructure investments, such as Wi-Fi. These reimbursements are distributed to schools based on dollars they already spent on the program, not on how many students use the program. The reimbursement is the same whether the program benefits 10 students or 1,000 students. Hence, funds are not distributed on a per-pupil basis and should not follow the student.