This series will seek to tell the other side of the charter public school story in a way that will bring context to what we believe are truths about charter public schools in general, and specifically about high performing networks, like our own KIPP SoCal. In doing so, we hope you join us in refocusing the narrative on what truly matters: educational equity for all of our children, regardless of zip code, income, language, or ability.
How do public charter schools impact funding to traditional public schools?
Traditional public school districts receive state funding based on the number of students enrolled. If a student leaves the district for any reason, the district’s funding is reduced because the district no longer incurs the costs associated with educating that student. If that student enrolls in another district or charter public school, the state funding follows the student and the new district or school receives it.
It is important to note that traditional public school districts receive the bulk of their funding from local property tax revenue. Local tax money remains with the district regardless of the number of students enrolled. Public charter schools do not receive any local tax money. It's also noteworthy that charter public schools - on average - receive less funding per student than traditional public schools while paying an oversight fee to their district authorizers and being responsible for their own facilities, unlike district schools.
The simple truth is that in California, federal and state public school funding follows the student, so funding goes to whichever public school families choose for their child, including traditional public schools, magnet schools, pilot schools, and charter public schools.
It is also a simple truth that 8,303 families have chosen to send their children to a KIPP SoCal school because they believed that decision was in the best interest of their child. A few words from our families, who we feel are best suited to make that decision:
"I am the proud mother of three KIPP scholars. We have a warm and inviting school culture, thanks to our principal. She greets each student with a smile and handshake as they walk in through the gate every morning. This has created a welcoming environment from the start of the day that resonates with us and establishes a norm among the school."
"I remember when my daughter used to have difficulties with her reading skills, however, through open communication with the teacher we were able to develop a strategy that was specific to her needs. This was only due to the culture of the school that allows us to feel confident in reaching out to our teachers for additional support."
"Throughout the years, I have seen first hand how my children have grown academically and socially. They look forward to coming to school everyday. I am extremely grateful to have a high quality educational option within our neighborhood. Our KIPP school has provided my children with an opportunity to thrive within their school and community."
"Having KIPP as a choice in the community has given me and other families reassurance that our kids have a bright future ahead of them. I know that my kids will be loved and taken care of here at KIPP."
Families choose KIPP SoCal schools because they feel it is the best home for their child to be seen, developed and inspired. And we work tirelessly to ensure that vision is within reach at all of our schools across Southern California every day, so that when a family walks through our doors, we can deliver on our promise to ensure that every child grows up free to create the future they want for themselves and their communities.
If we stay focused on what's best for our children, it becomes evident that there is nothing good or bad about a charter or any other public school. The only thing that matters is whether the school provides a great public education. Only then can we all come together to truly be advocates for the much-needed resources all public schools deserve, including adequate funding for all public schools (both traditional and charter), and additional resources for our Special Education students, English Learners, Foster and Homeless Youth, and all students who have been systemically under-resourced. Let’s put the focus back on what’s best for the child so that we can all move forward towards a more educationally equitable world.