A Brief Update on Charter Schools
For the 2010-11 school year, 325 charter schools operated in Ohio. These schools enrolled 100,000 students and received $722 million in state foundation aid.
For the 2011-12 school year (as of April), the number of charter schools currently operating in Ohio stands at 354. These schools enroll 108,000 students and will receive $773 million in state aid for the current fiscal year.
By the end of the current fiscal year, Charter schools will have collected $5.6 billion in total state aid payments since the inception of Ohio’s charter school program.
Thirty percent of charter schools that were open during the 2010-11 school year were operated by for-profit management companies. These schools enrolled 54 percent of all charter school students and collected $373 million in state aid.
White Hat Management operates 28 charter schools. White Hat schools served 9,400 students last school year and received $69.6 million in state funding. At the close of the current school year, White Hat will have collected $800 million in total state aid payments since the inception of Ohio’s charter school program.
The graduation rate for White Hat operated charter schools is 11.6 percent.
Taking into account the graduation rate, White Hat must spend $76,000 per year to graduate a single student. This expense is 7.2 times that spent by Ohio’s traditional public schools ad 4.2 times the amount spent by the state’s large urban school districts.
For the 2010-11 school year, traditional public schools spent $1,228 per student on administrative costs. Charter schools spent $2,234. White Hat spent $4,573.
For the 2009-10 school year, 321 charter schools operated in Ohio. These schools enrolled more than 90,000 students and received $680 million in state foundation aid.
The 2009-10 school year marked the first year that a majority of charter schools did not receive a “D” or “F” on their local report card.
However, 45 percent of graded charter schools remain in academic emergency or academic watch. $266.6 million in state aid payments flowed to low performing charter schools last school year.
Most, 56 percent, of charter schools operated by for-profit management companies remain in academic emergency or academic watch. Among charter schools operated by White Hat Management, 65 percent are so designated. 73 percent of Imagine schools remain in academic emergency or academic watch.
Of the 285 charter schools receiving an academic designation for the 2009-10 school year, only one (Noble Academy-Cleveland) was rated excellent with distinction.
In the aggregate, charter schools met only 27.6 percent of academic standards on the 2009-10 report cards. Public districts met 79.5 percent of report card standards.
For-profit charter schools met only 15.6 percent of report card standards. Schools ran by for-profit operator White Hat Management met only 11.7 percent of standards. White Hat’s Life Skills Centers met only 7.1 percent of report card standards.
Traditional public districts post an overall graduation rate of 90.1 percent. The graduation rate for Ohio’s largest urban districts is 70.1 percent. For charter schools, the graduation rate falls to 26.4 percent.
Only 16.5 percent of eligible students graduated from charter schools designated as dropout recovery and prevention schools. Life Skills Centers have a graduation rate of 10.7 percent.
An update of the research shows that public districts continue to maintain a competitive advantage over charter schools. Schools in Ohio’s big eight urban districts continue to outperform the charter schools that are located within those districts. When 2009-10 report card pass rates are incorporated into a longitudinal dataset, the public schools recorded significantly higher scores on each tested subject and at each grade level.
Further, when district buildings within Ohio’s big eight urban areas were matched with demographically similar charter schools, the public schools outperformed the charter schools 60 percent of the time on 2009-10 Ohio Achievement Tests.
At $2,506 per student, administrative expenditures among charter schools are more than double that of traditional public districts.
Traditional public districts annually expend $11,371 per graduating student. That amount increases to $18,977 for Ohio’s big eight urban districts. For charter schools, the cost per graduate is $29,175. For charter schools designated as dropout prevention and recovery, the cost soars to $46,383. Dropout prevention charter schools located in the state’s eight largest urban areas expend $69,397 per graduate.