RI Charter Public Schools Receive More Than 15,000 Applications - A New Record
Thursday, May 04, 2017
The numbers come according to data put together by the Rhode Island Department of Education.
"These numbers demonstrate that Rhode Island families are demanding, more than ever before, quality public school choice options. As a state, we must continue working to support great public schools, including traditional, charter, and career and technical public schools. Our students thrive in an education system that embraces and supports different learning needs,” said Timothy Groves, executive director of the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools.
This is the first time that applications to Rhode Island charter public schools have gone over 15,000 and represents a 29% increase in applications since the spring of 2014.
Charter Schools in RI
Charter public schools currently educate approximately 8,000 students, or just over 5% of the state's public school population.
Charter schools are public schools, and when the applications to a charter public school exceed the number of open seats in that school, all of those applications go into a blind lottery held annually on March 1. Applicants who are randomly selected from the lottery pool are offered admission.
Rhode Island's 15 independent and three district charter schools range in size, but average about 300 students per school.
Some schools are open to all public school students from across the state, and others are open to public school students in more narrowly defined geographical regions.
Some are K-12, while others are K-5 or high school only.
Families may apply to more than one charter school if they so choose.
Related Slideshow: Charter School Costs to School Districts
The below data show one of the biggest areas of funding losses to charter schools: special education. The gap is demonstrated by comparing per pupil costs for special education for the district and charter schools. Despite having far lower costs, districts must pay tuition to charters as if their costs were the same, resulting in a potential overpayment to the charter and a loss of much-needed funding in the district. Those losses—due to special education alone, not other factors—are listed at the bottom of each slide. Only those districts that lost $50,000 or more are listed. Districts are listed in order of least to greatest losses. Financial data are from the report of the Rhode Island House of Representatives’ Special Commission to Study and Assess Rhode Island’s ‘Fair Funding Formula,’ released May 18. Attendance figures are from the Rhode Island Department of Education. All data are for fiscal year 2014.
NOTE: Total actual district losses displayed below are based on the difference for per-pupil special education cost for each charter school to which the district sent students. The average for all charters is shown here for illustrative purposes. Due to limited space, the averages for each charter that each district is sending students to are not shown. The total actual district losses were calculated as follows: The difference between each district’s per-pupil cost and each one of the charters to which it sent students was calculated. The difference was then multiplied by the number of students the district sent to that charter to calculate how much was being lost to each charter. The loss each district experienced for each charter was then added up to get the total amount that district was losing overall to charters.
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