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Charter School Information

Fast Facts

  • 62% of the state's charter students are minorities, one of the highest ratios in the country and significantly above the state average of 26 percent.  
  • About 58% of Michigan charter students qualify for free- or reduced-price lunch.
  • More than two-thirds of Michigan’s 232 charter schools have waiting lists.
  • Michigan charter schools enrolled 100,000+ students in the 2007-08 school year, which is just over 5% of the state’s total K-12 population.

Charter Funding

  • Charter schools receive a per-pupil funding of about $7,888.  This is $1,198 less per student than all traditional schools statewide, and $2,576 less per student than the traditional district where the charter school is located.*
  • Charter total student funding is never more than what the local district gets.
  • Charters are not allowed to levy millages or sell public bonds.  In fact, many charters pay property taxes back to traditional districts.
  • Michigan charters put their dollars in the classroom.  Latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics shows 63% of all charter staff are in the classroom, directly helping children to learn.  In contrast, the state average for all schools is 48% -- among the worst in the nation.

Teacher Certification

  • Current state data shows 100% of charter teachers are certified compared to a 94.0% rate in traditional school statewide and 91.1% in 18 host districts selected by the state to be a fair and accurate comparison.

Financial Impact on Traditional Districts

  • A traditional district’s millage and bond revenue remain untouched by the opening of charter schools.  
  • Charters can have a positive impact on a community’s well-being by providing educational options that attract and retain families, as well as the tax base that remains with them.
  • With the passing of Proposal A, Michigan now allows parents to decide what public school is best for their child.  Choices include the local district, a district nearby or a charter public school…parents choose and funding follows.

Special Education Services

  • About 9% of the charter student population requires special education services; the number grows annually.  About 15% of the state’s traditional school children are classified as “special ed.”  
  • Reasons for the difference in numbers:
  • About 10% of special education students in charter schools are overcoming their learning difficulties, completing individual education plans and leaving the “special ed” ranks.
  • Some traditional schools provide good special education services and parents choose to keep their students there.  Others do not fare so well and local charters have higher numbers.  Capital Area Academy in Lansing has a 24% “special ed” rate.  Macomb Academy in Clinton Township was created specifically to serve special needs students.

Complying with Laws & Regulations

  • Charters provide increased services such as extended school days and years, enhanced individual attention, character education programs and foreign language instruction beginning in kindergarten.

 

 
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