Source: Education Next

To quantify charter expansion’s effects on school district finances and student achievement under reimbursement schemes, a reform that led to a large expansion of the charter sector in Massachusetts was studied. This new report provides the first causal evidence of charter expansion’s fiscal and academic spillover effects in a state that temporarily compensates districts for the revenue they lose when students move to charter schools. The study found that, contrary to some prior work and popularly held opinions, charter expansion’s medium-term fiscal and educational impact on school districts was either positive, for per-pupil expenditures, or negligible, in terms of student achievement. The results reveal that higher charter attendance increased per-pupil expenditures in district schools and shifted school district expenditures towards instruction and away from support services (which encompasses things like student counseling and teacher training) and school administration.