Achievement First, Paying Twice?

The application by Achievement First to open a new charter school (a Mayoral Academy) in Providence is up for approval before the Board of Regents today. In an effort to promote this application, RI-CAN has been rolling out “7 Facts in 7 Days” on their website. Whether you approve, oppose–or are pre-disposed to either–one fact (already touched on by Andrew) contained some additional information that was news to me.

FACT #5: Under Rhode Island’s new fair funding formula, money follows the child, so the Achievement First Mayoral Academy would not be taking money away from its host districts. — Because of Rhode Island’s new school funding formula, each of the four communities that the Achievement First Mayoral Academy would serve are set to receive additional resources from the state in the coming years. Instead of a lump sum, districts will receive funding based on enrollment and student need, so that every child will get their fair share of state dollars, whether they go to a public charter school such as Achievement First Mayoral Academy or a traditional public school. To allow districts to adjust to the new funding formula and changes in enrollment pattern, districts will even get funding through the 2017-18 school year for the students who are no longer enrolled in their schools. {Emphasis mine}.

So for 4 or 5 years, districts sending kids to the Providence Mayoral Academy will still receive compensation for students they won’t be directly educating. What is the more likely scenario come the end of the 2017/18 school year: 1) The districts will have planned accordingly and their budgets will anticipate the oncoming “shortfall” such that they will be able to absorb budget cuts or 2) The districts will factor in the windfall and expect it to be part of the new funding baseline regardless of the “deadline”?

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