Working Paper: The Impact of Charter Schools on District School Budgets

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Working Paper: The Impact of Charter Schools on District School Budgets

In “The Effect of Charter Competition on Unionized District Revenues and Resource Allocation,” Jason B. Cook finds that charter competition has driven down local funding by depressing valuations of residential property and has led school districts to redirect revenue from instructional expenditures (in particular, teacher salaries) to facility improvements. Cook complements these two important findings with thorough explanations.

 

By Jason B. Cook
Working Paper No. 229
National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education

Since 1992, the number of charter schools in the United States has grown from two in Minnesota to approximately 6,500 spread across 41 states and the District of Columbia. This stunning growth has led to numerous studies of charter schools regarding their enrollment patterns, their pedagogical strategies, their academic outcomes, their effect through competition on academic outcomes of district schools, their administrative structures, and their sources of funding.

The loss of federal, state, and local per-pupil allocations for students who transfer from district schools to charter schools has likewise been documented. However, little scholarship has been devoted to the impact of charter schools on, one, how much revenue school districts collect through local property taxes and, two, how school districts budget that revenue.

With “The Effect of Charter Competition on Unionized District Revenues and Resource Allocation,” Jason B. Cook fills this void. Cook, a doctoral student in economics at Cornell University, focuses on Ohio, home to a high concentration of both online and brick-and-mortar charter schools, and examines school budget data in the state from 1982 through 2013. In addition to confirming in detail that charter competition has reduced federal, state, and local support for district schools, Cook finds that charter competition has driven down local funding by depressing valuations of residential property and has led school districts to redirect revenue from instructional expenditures (in particular, teacher salaries) to facility improvements. Cook complements these two important findings with thorough explanations.

At once crisply written, grounded in careful statistical analysis, and buttressed with a rich appendix, Cook’s study promises to be a significant addition to the literature on charter schools and their impact on school districts.

View paper

View appendix

Published Tuesday, May. 17, 2016

Working Paper: The Impact of Charter Schools on District School Budgets

By Jason B. Cook
Working Paper No. 229
National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education

Since 1992, the number of charter schools in the United States has grown from two in Minnesota to approximately 6,500 spread across 41 states and the District of Columbia. This stunning growth has led to numerous studies of charter schools regarding their enrollment patterns, their pedagogical strategies, their academic outcomes, their effect through competition on academic outcomes of district schools, their administrative structures, and their sources of funding.

The loss of federal, state, and local per-pupil allocations for students who transfer from district schools to charter schools has likewise been documented. However, little scholarship has been devoted to the impact of charter schools on, one, how much revenue school districts collect through local property taxes and, two, how school districts budget that revenue.

With “The Effect of Charter Competition on Unionized District Revenues and Resource Allocation,” Jason B. Cook fills this void. Cook, a doctoral student in economics at Cornell University, focuses on Ohio, home to a high concentration of both online and brick-and-mortar charter schools, and examines school budget data in the state from 1982 through 2013. In addition to confirming in detail that charter competition has reduced federal, state, and local support for district schools, Cook finds that charter competition has driven down local funding by depressing valuations of residential property and has led school districts to redirect revenue from instructional expenditures (in particular, teacher salaries) to facility improvements. Cook complements these two important findings with thorough explanations.

At once crisply written, grounded in careful statistical analysis, and buttressed with a rich appendix, Cook’s study promises to be a significant addition to the literature on charter schools and their impact on school districts.

View paper

View appendix

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