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Charter School Myths

Myth #1: Charter Schools only take the best students, leaving the public schools with those least able to learn.
Answer: Charter students are selected by a random drawing, so charter schools are UNABLE to choose the children they will teach.

Myth #2: Charter schools don't serve special education students.
Answer: Charter schools serve special education students at the same (Utah) or higher (national) rates than the public schools.

Myth #3: Charter schools get more money per pupil than public schools.
Answer: Charter schools receive LESS money per student than their neighborhood school receives per student. The Utah Taxpayers Association calculates that charter schools receive $200+ per student less than district schools. Good information on this topic can be found here.

Myth #4: Charter schools drain money from public schools
Answer: In areas where student populations are increasing, charters don't negatively impact the school district financially. The dollars follow the scholars and as students move to a charter school, their funding follows them. In growing districts, that student's seat is filled by another student and there is no negative financial impact on the district. In fact, growing districts experience significant benefits from charter schools. The three charter schools in Jordan District house a total of over 1500 students, saving the district from building 2 elementary schools. In addition, school districts are allowed to keep the property tax revenue for students who attend charter schools in their district. The state pays charter schools a category of income called local replacement to make up for the property taxes the district gets to keep and does not forward on to charter schools. For a school of 500 students, the district gets to keep over $350,000 annually. Clearly, under the current funding process, charter schools SAVE the districts a significant amount of money each year.

In districts where enrollment is declining, charter schools may have a negative fiscal impact temporarily, but because the dollars follow the scholars the district is no longer responsible to educate the student so they no longer have any expenses associated with that student. This requires reallocation of resources on the part of the district, but is not a net reduction in funding of public schools. The provider has simply changed and the funding is sent to the charter school instead of the district.

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