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CHARTER SCHOOL OPPONENTS NEED TO CRUNCH NUMBERS

Could someone please explain how charter schools "steal" money from the school district? Charter schools are funded at approximately two-thirds the rate of a regular public school, but there is a catch.

As I understand it, the average funding for a regular Buffalo public school student is about $12,000 per year and the average charter public school student is funded at about $8,000 per year.

But the Buffalo school district gets to keep the $4,000 difference not funded to the charter school even though it no longer has that student enrolled in a regular Buffalo public school, every year that child is in a charter school in the district.

So based on an enrollment of 4,000 charter school students, the district pays out $32 million a year but it keeps the $16 million per year paid to the district for not having those 4,000 students in the system.

If those 4,000 kids in charter schools had moved to suburban schools, or enrolled in private schools, the district would be out a total of $48 million.

If that $16 million paid to the Buffalo system for not having those 4,000 charter school students enrolled were divided by the remaining 38,000 students in the regular Buffalo public school system, it would average out to $420 per student, or $11,340 per year for the average district classroom with 27 students. Naturally, nothing is as simple as that. But once we start looking at the money, the rhetoric from those opposing charter schools doesn't add up.

I feel parents deserve to choose what they feel is best for their child. As a parent, I feel taxpayers deserve an explanation from the opponents of charter schools.

Drew Kelley

Buffalo

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