STATE CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING
State charter schools, like all public schools, receive any reductions made to the K-12 funding formula.
No local tax money flows to state charter schools. The General Assembly may appropriate additional state dollars as provided in the state charter funding formula are to partially offset the loss of local dollars when a charter application is denied by a local school board. This is commonly referred to as the "State Charter Supplement."
EXPLANATION OF FUNDING CALCULATION
All funding for state charter schools comes from the state, and the allocation for each student in a state charter school is determined by adding these four components:
- QBE formula earnings based on the school’s enrollment, school profile and student characteristics,
- a proportional share of the earned state categorical grants (transportation and school nutrition),
- the average amount of the total revenues less federal revenues other than equalization grants per student for the five school districts with the lowest tax digests; (local five mill share will be deducted for state charter schools), and
- the state-wide average total capital revenue per student (determined by a formula that looks at the total collection from E-SPLOST statewide plus the total state allocation for capital outlay to local school districts divided by the total number of students statewide).
EXPLANATION OF DEDUCTIONS
- State Charters receive the same austerity deduction that all public schools receive.
- The austerity in the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) budget equaled approximately 5.88% of the Statewide “State Funds” (State Funds = Total QBE Earnings less the LFMS). Therefore, each district’s/state charter school’s “State Funds” were multiplied by 5.88% to get a respective austerity value.
Local Five Mill Share (LFMS):
- Since Fiscal Year 2013, the legislature has proposed budgets that deduct the equivalent of a LFMS deduction from State Charter Schools’ funding.
- The LFMS deduction is taken only from QBE earnings. The deduction amount is calculated from the average LFMS per FTE of the lowest five systems ranked by assessed valuation (tax digest) per weighted FTE count.
- The State Charter Schools Commission (SCSC) is authorized to deduct up to 3% of the overall budgets of state charter schools to cover SCSC operating expenses.
- For Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016), the SCSC voluntarily reduced the administrative withholding amount to 2% for existing schools and to 1% for new schools in their first year of operation.
EXPLANATION OF CHARTER SUPPLEMENT
Because state charter schools do not receive a share of local revenue, the funding formula for state charters includes the addition of state funds to offset the reduced opportunity for revenue. The charter supplement has two components:
- State funds equal to the average amount of local revenue and state equalization grant funding for the five school districts with the lowest assessed valuation per student, and
- The statewide average of total capital revenue per full-time equivalent student.
Thus, the state charter supplement can be displayed as follows:
- State Charter Supplement = (Average Total Revenue of the 5 school districts with the lowest assessed valuation – state funding of those districts – federal funding of those districts + state equalization grants of those districts) + the statewide average of capital revenue per FTE
In the event that a state charter school offers virtual instruction, the appropriation for the State Charter Supplement is reduced by one-third and any funding included in the State Charter Supplement as part of the state-wide average total capital revenue per student is reduced in proportion to the amount of virtual instruction provided by the school. In other words, if a state charter school offers 100% virtual instruction, the school will only receive two-thirds of the State Charter Supplement and will not receive any capital funding.
AVERAGE PER PUPIL (FTE) STATE FUNDING (FY2017)
Average State Charter Funding (All Schools) = $6,368
Total Funds ($193,394,496) / Total FTE (30,371)
20 B&M + 3 Virtuals = 23 Schools
Average State Charter Funding (Brick & Mortar Schools) = $8,092
Total Funds ($86,514,916) / Total FTE (10,691)
Average State Charter Funding (Virtual Schools) = $5,431
Total Funds ($106,879,580) / Total FTE (19,680)
The amounts listed above reflect an SCSC withholding amount equal to 2% for existing schools and 1% for schools in their first year of operation.
The amounts listed above reflect State funding only. Federal funding is not reflected in these per FTE averages.