Ohio Charters Save Money for Public Schools and Taxpayers

(Guest post by Greg Forster)

It’s raining studies! After this one and then this one comes a study out today from Matthew Carr and Beth Lear of the Buckeye Institute. It’s a fiscal analysis of how charter schools impact the finances of regular public schools in Ohio’s “Big 8” cities.

When a student leaves a regular public school for a charter school (or a private school for that matter), the district loses the state revenue stream associated with that student, but it gains on the local revenue side because local revenues don’t go down, allowing the district to take that student’s share of local funds and redirect it to funding the education of the students who remain behind. The net fiscal impact depends on which is bigger, the state revenue stream per student or the local property taxes per student.

Carr and Lear find that in Ohio’s Big 8, the regular public schools are fiscal winners when students leave for charter schools. The biggest savings are in Cincinnati, where the net gain is $4,030 per student; the lowest is in Canton, where the net gain is $918 per student.

Charters in Ohio’s Big 8 also keep overall educational costs down by providing a better education (as Carr’s previous work in Ohio has shown) for less money per student.

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