On average, charter schools spend about $7,658 (about $500 more than they receive in revenue) per student according to the Center for Education Reform. As to where they get public funding varies by state. Some charter schools get financial support from the state, the school district, the city government, the county board or the Authorizer. See this list for a detailed information on where each state gets funding for their charter schools. They based the funding on a statutory formula that's also different in every state. Special students and non-special students get different statutory funding formulas.
Apart from the state, charter schools get their funding privately especially when the funding involves upgrading their school facilities. Currently, there is no funding available for school facilities in charter schools. They do get to be a part of the federal lunch program. Subsidies are provided to those students in low-income households.
Funding Charter Schools
Charter schools are encouraged to partner with different organizations (for-profit and non-profit) such as colleges, hospitals, local businesses and military bases to increase their chances of getting more funding from the Department of Education. While there are several available funding options for charter schools, there are other ways they can generate funding to provide free school education to students.
There are private foundations like the Walton Family Foundation, National Charter School Resource Center, Braitmayer Foundation and Louis Calder Foundation that want to support charter schools to provide high-quality education to students. They may support these charter schools with regard to creating innovative ways to assess non-cognitive skills of students, training effective teachers by providing development opportunities, and offering a better curriculum.
Fundraising or Donations
In a news report published by the Washington Post, some charter schools in DC raised $14.5 million in donations each year between 2012-2014. Seven schools reported receiving about $1million in donations while some only got less than $100k. Some of these donations come from major corporations. For charter schools to get more donation, they should focus more on college preparation as some funders prefer this.
The charter school's financial information is one primary requirement to be considered for a bank loan. There are fees involved too such as real estate due diligence, attorney fees or title insurance fees. Schools with other financial obligations may be denied by the bank as they mostly required to be the only lender for that school. Qualified charter schools can enjoy at least 4 percent or lower for 10-15 year terms.
Other Funding Opportunities
The National Charter School Resource Center has a compilation of funding opportunities for charter schools. These include grants, prizes, ongoing fellowships and scholarships. Several organizations such as established corporations and foundations participated in this opportunity to assist charter schools in their ultimate goal of providing high-quality education to students.
What if Charter Schools Don't Have Enough Funds to Get Started?
Since the state doesn't assist with providing funding for school facilities, some charter schools utilize other resources like converting churches, cafeterias or warehouses into classrooms. As soon as they are already established, they can begin applying for loans and other funding opportunities.