September 26, 2018
CHICAGO—A recent analysis produced by the Chicago Teachers Union and ChiACTS—the Chicago Alliance of Charter Teachers and Staff—alleges that charter public schools are funded at 8 percent more than the city’s district-operated schools—a claim that is explicitly baseless, according to Andrew Broy, president of the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS).
“Charter public schools in Chicago continue to remain under-resourced in funds allocated per student and school facilities compared to district schools,” said Broy.
While the Illinois legislature enacted funding reform legislation in 2017 to address some of the inequity, there is still a gap, especially when it comes to charter facilities.
“In fact, independent, third-party research has established that Chicago charter public schools are underfunded by as much as 35 percent relative to district schools when facilities costs are included,” said Broy.
As a result, many charter public schools have been forced to take on significant short and long-term debt to maintain facilities and appropriate staffing levels.
Unlike district schools that can rely on the bonding authority of the Chicago Public Schools and the City of Chicago, charter public schools are largely left to fend for themselves to address capital needs.
“It is the height of hypocrisy for ChiACTS to complain about charter school funding levels while they refuse to support legislation in Springfield that would increase funding for schools,” Broy said. “One would hope that any organization that purports to represent charter teachers would actually take positions that further the interests of those teachers.
“Charter schools allow public resources to stay in the public school system, while ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively by requiring schools to perform well,” said Broy. “In Illinois, public money for education belongs to students and funding follows the student to their family’s public school of choice. Charter public schools are fully accountable for their budget and state law ensures a strong level fiscal transparency.”