I meant to have this post up last night, and I apologize for the delay. But I think you’ll find this follow up to yesterday’s analysis by Greg Mild was well worth the wait.

With the huge increase in funding to charter schools that Kasich is proposing in his budget, it seems worthwhile knowing where that money is going. According to Greg, the bulk of it will be going to charter schools who receive 2.5 times as much funding per student as public schools.

I used my editorial privileges to change Greg’s headline and trim the content down a little, and we’ve included a new intro Greg wrote specifically for Plunderbund. So if you feel like we’re missing anything from the original piece it’s 100% my fault. That said: I urge you to read the full report from which the following was taken. It’s takes a little time, but it is well worth the investment.

In the mean time, get prepared to be astonished, annoyed and downright angered by what you are about to read…

When Governor Kasich revealed his budget by promising to eliminate the state’s (alleged) $8 billion dollar deficit, he promised lift the current cap on the number of charter [officially “community”] schools in Ohio. One might reasonably expect that these community schools must save the state significant money for him to remove the limit, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last few months, it’s that Kasich and Reasonable don’t belong in the same sentence.

The following information may at first seem like random statistics, but as you read, think about how all of these numbers begin to piece together to inhibit the positive growth of the local school districts in Ohio. From the skewed school funding model to the misapplied term “community” to the fact that taxpayers are being misled about where their money is being sent, the entire system is corrupt. And when Republican legislators complain that school unions are “unelected individuals” making decisions about public monies, remind them of how the funding of community schools redirects your tax dollars to “unelected individuals.” (The question of “unelected individuals” affecting tax dollars was repeatedly asked of witnesses by Representative William Coley during the March 14, 2011, House Commerce and Labor Committee hearing.)

ALL statistics used in this note have been pulled directly from the Ohio Department of Education website unless otherwise noted.


It is widely known that Ohio’s school funding model has been ruled unconstitutional. It is probably less widely understood that Ohio distributes tax dollars inequitably across school districts. There is a state average, but the amount that is used to provide state funding has complex factors which include the ability of a local district to raise revenue and a mix of special education factors. In FY09, for instance, the Olentangy Local School District received per pupil state revenue of $1,573.00, while the East Cleveland City School District received per pupil state revenue of $10,044. I certainly think the case can be made on either side of that gap to question the fairness, but neither district represents the lowest or highest percentage of per pupil revenue in the state. Likewise, it can get murky when trying to compare two districts that my be very different in terms of local economics.

Instead, let’s look at the distribution of state tax dollars to community schools and their surrounding school districts.

Franklin County includes 16 local school districts with an average per pupil state revenue of $3,957.94. New Albany-Plain Local SD is the lowest at $1,673.00 and Whitehall City SD is the highest at $6,254.00.

Community schools in Franklin County received an average per pupil state revenue of $9,416.81. Life Skills Center of Columbus North is the lowest at $6,011.67 and Noble Academy-Columbus at $65,376.66. That is not a misprint. The Ohio Department of Education reports that exact dollar amount as the per pupil revenue for Noble Academy. I’m willing to consider that number as being a data quirk, but what about the next five highest amounts?

$14,369.93 — Scholarts Preparatory School and Career Center for Children
$15,471.46 — Summit Academy Middle School-Columbus
$16,550.01 — FCI Academy
$21,396.76 — Summit Academy Transition High School Columbus
$28,902.61 — Oakstone Community School

Could these all be quirks? In fact, 49 Franklin County community schools are reported to have received state revenue in excess of Whitehall City SD’s amount. To clarify again, on average a Franklin County community school is paid $5458.87 over twice the amount per pupil that local school districts receive. Where does that money come from? The state of Ohio deducts it from the amount the local school district receives. Ohio sets the per pupil “foundation” funding amount and then reduces the amount paid to districts by imposing a “charge off” (intended to account for growth in property value) that results in the district receiving approximately 42% of the foundation amount.

Community schools are funded in a different way. According to the Ohio Department of Education: “Community school students are counted as part of the funded enrollment base for school districts and payments to community schools are deducted from the foundation payment of the school district where the community school student resides.”

What this means is that the community school is paid the full foundation amount for each student. Have you heard the argument that community schools don’t receive local taxes? Technically that’s true, but local districts are equally penalized by the state for receiving those taxes, so it’s essentially equalized through the state funding process.

Another very important piece of information that I don’t want to lose is the flow of money. Community school students are calculated into the full funding amount (enrollment base) allocated to a district. Once that full amount is calculated, then the payments are made to the community schools and districts. The state counts the funding against the local district. While the community schools received 100% of the per pupil amount, districts only receive their funding after the charge off, approximately 42% of the per pupil amount. These are state taxpayer dollars. Follow the money…

As I mentioned above, East Cleveland City SD received the highest per pupil revenue amount in Ohio for a public school district. By comparison, 45 community schools across the state received per pupil revenue in excess of $11,000.

Which sponsors are receiving the bulk of state taxes? Average per pupil amounts are listed below.

$9,891.35 – Buckeye Community Hope Foundation
$7,140.72 – Educational Resource Consultants of Ohio, Inc.
$11,656.79 – Kids Count of Dayton, Inc
$12,096.12 – Lucas County Educational Service Center
$7,901.98 – Ohio Council of Community Schools
$7,815.31 – St. Aloysius Orphanage

For comparison, the average for school districts in Ohio’s major counties where these community schools operate.

$4,076.68 – Cuyahoga County school districts
$7,972.16 – Cuyahoga County community schools

$3,957.94 – Franklin County school districts
$9,416.81 – Franklin County community schools

$3,898.18 – Hamilton County school districts
$8,222.72 – Hamilton County community schools

$4,140.14 – Lorain County school districts
$10,563.52 – Lorain County community schools

$3,764.38 – Lucas County school districts
$10,674.71 – Lucas County community schools

$4,733.93 – Mahoning County school districts
$9,973.40 – Mahoning County community schools

$4,903.56 – Montgomery County school districts
$9,303.61 – Montgomery County community schools

$3,724.82 – Summit County school districts
$9,345.75 – Summit County community schools

These numbers represent state tax dollars being paid out. Follow the money…

And finally, if someone further challenges these numbers by stating that community schools don’t receive any federal funding, simply mention that the Ohio Department of Education distributed the following:

Federal Charter School Grant funds to community schools in Ohio:
$13,127,140.81 in FY08
$9,631,732.50 in FY09
$10,442,565.76 in FY10
Including a top award of $550,000.00 each to five different schools.

Consolidated Federal Title Funds
$78,347,226.27 in FY08
$92,282,995.69 in FY09
$105,835,747.65 in FY10

ARRA Federal Title Funds
$69,548,505.52 in FY10

EACH student who attends a community (charter) school instead of a local public school costs the state nearly two and a half times the funding amount. Why would the Governor promote the expansion of a program that will cost the state MORE money when he’s trying to reduce the deficit?

Follow the money…

  • CDR Jan

    “Why would the Governor promote the expansion of a program that will cost the state MORE money when he’s trying to reduce the deficit?

    Uh, because he’s King John Kasick and has to pay off his buds that got him elected, like white hat Dave Brennan.

    And because a barely educated populace makes its easier for King John and his Wall Street brahmin buds to create a vast group of minimum-wage slaves controlled by them.

  • buckeyekelly

    At some point can we shove these statistics down a reporters throat that gets within yelling distance of our dear governor? If we want to move at the speed of business, Kasich’s going to need a bigger shovel to dig us further into the hole.


  • Amazing that Governor Kasich believes this is the preferred method to allocate education funds when it benefits only the few not the many.

  • Amazing that Governor Kasich believes this is the preferred method to allocate education funds when it benefits only the few not the many.

  • Shaeff5

    why is this not in the newspapers???

  • clambake

    But you see, when local public schools use tax money for oh, teaching and administrative costs they are inefficient bureaucrats. When charter schools funnel money into bitchin’ marketing campaigns (who knew? Go to ECOT, end up in a Jonas Brothers style band with your own tour bus) they are unleashing the magic of the marketplace to improve school quality. Or something.

  • Guest

    Thanks for the info

  • Littleguy

    I have something else you should look into. I know a person working at a charter school. That individual has stated that “they are considered ‘half time clergy’ so they pay no income tax on that half of their salary.” Can that be accurate? My brother was a teacher and he paid stated and federal tax on every dime of his salary. So there is another sucking sound to the coffers of Ohio. And, that person also told me they paid no retirement….did not have to pay into social security and the charter school had no retirement system. So who will support that individual when they are old and infirm?

    If not in the full report, which I haven’t read yet, someone in the know should do a valid comparison of this stuff. Thanks for all you do.

  • Littleguy

    I worked in a public office and ECOT used to come in and schedule our meeting room, at no charge, to give their tests. The taxpayers were subsiding that company who bragged how efficient they were. I wish now I had blown the whistle. I just went along to keep peace in the office because someone else made the decision to let them use it….. No more nice guy for me. I am standing up to people now.

  • CDR Jan

    Well, if the teachers are ‘half time clergy’, then they need not have workers compensation coverage for that portion of their earnings.. If they are hurt on the job, though, it’s kinda hard to determine if the injury occurred while ‘ministering to their flock,’ so the claims would be 100% allowed.

    Something for nothing – the Republiscum way!

  • Palli

    One should ask: Where does the money go at charter schools? The ones I know pay teachers substantially less than public school teachers and the buildings are poorly equipped without playgrounds of consequence, libraries, administrators with allegiance to corporate masters, etc. I do know there are teacher training sessions from highly paid (politically selected, no doubt) educational consultants though.
    I have friends who are good teachers but are forced to teach in charter schools because there have been too many staff cuts in public schools. Like public school teachers, supplies often come from their own pocket and much of their commitment in energy and time is voluntary but a professional necessity. And no union, of course.

  • this is crazy

    because most of the ohio newspapers have been (unfortunately!) very supportive of kasich…

  • love it


  • ME

    Private, parochial schools are not community schools. My kids have been in public, parochial, and charter schools. Throwing money money at public schools is not the answer but neither is it the answer to take away the funding that they currently have and dole it out to community schools in a lop-sided proprtion. I can’t figure out where the charter money goes as their staff and building costs are lower.

  • Oh come on, that’s not fair. Kasich really is doing it because he believes in the power of Free-Market Jesus to fix EVERYTHING. Just like the way he is cutting the consumer protections (that don’t come out of GRF) to protect us from AEP, et al. If you are getting screwed by AEP, just switch to Dominion, right?

  • That sounds like a logical conclusion…

  • This is no real surprise. No Child Left Behind propped up schools, then pulled the plug too quickly, before training could really be accomplished. My feelings and I repeat, MY feeling is there are more than politics involved. Why do people not understand what happened in the 1960’s and now, establishing parallels?

  • This is no real surprise. No Child Left Behind propped up schools, then pulled the plug too quickly, before training could really be accomplished. My feelings and I repeat, MY feeling is there are more than politics involved. Why do people not understand what happened in the 1960’s and now, establishing parallels?

  • clambake

    Well, yeah– you don’t want to throw money. I mean, what if it’s windy?
    I advocate some sort of electronic transfer of funds.

  • CDR Jan

    King John wouldn’t know a free market if it bit him in the ass. All he knows is laissez-faire that increases HIS bottom line at the expense of ordinary citizens.

  • CDR Jan

    “I can’t figure out where the charter money goes as their staff and building costs are lower.”

    Into the pockets of the charter school operators, where else! You think white hat Dave runs his schools out of the goodness of his heart? Pshaw!

  • CDR Jan

    Oh, and I used to laugh about the charter school that met in a vacant store in that mall that used to be in downtown Columbus. And that guy that ran a boot-camp style charter school in a vacant store in Northland Mall. Both went out of business.

  • brian3910101

    This report has a major flaw. The report fails to differentiate between public funding and philanthropy (most likely because ODE does not report “public funding” vs. “philanthropy” for district schools or charter schools).

    The “Local Revenue” line item that is reported by ODE for district schools includes local tax revenue. Charter schools do not receive any local tax revenue, and so the “Local Revenue” that is reported by ODE for charter schools is actually philanthropy (typically donations, fundraised dollars, etc).

    As stated, ODE does not have a line item for “philanthropy” revenue in its reporting model. If it did, the public funding disparity would be much clearer, and you would see that charter schools receive no local tax dollars, and typically receive only 1/2 – 2/3rds the public funding of their district peers.

    Also, worth noting, charter schools are free, public schools, and do not charge tuition.

  • Anonymous

    They are usually a for profit school. Where do you think the money is really going? In a pocket! To top it off Ohio has some of the worst charter schools in the country. I hate getting the kids back once they leave for charter schools in our area. They are sooooo behind and their behavoir well let’s not go their.

  • Anonymous

    How about electronically transferring it back to the public school district.

  • Anonymous

    It is Davids kids I hate getting back. As they say in the south .God bless him.

  • Anonymous

    And Dominion contributed to King Johns campaign.

  • Anonymous

    Local revenue? Isn’t that what King John took from the schools in his budget?

  • Anonymous

    Why do people fall for this ‘privatization cuts costs’ b.s.? In EVERY instance the results have been the opposite of this ridiculous promise. On what planet does adding profit margin and marketing costs to anything make it cheaper?

  • Anonymous

    Oh…and that doesn’t even take into account the fact that 57% of Ohio’s charter schools have received failing grades themselves (D or F) and nearly all of them perform well below public schools.


    Strickland was cracking down on this but you know Kasich won’t.

  • The six special education weights are included in all of the numbers by default. And not by coincidence, there are no charter schools in Delaware County where Olentangy SD is located. The schools are only in places where there is money to be made….er, children to be recruited, er…helped.

  • daytonborn

    Census data shows that Ohio averages $10,173 spent per pupil. Utah averages $5730 per pupil. The Fed’s data shows that Utah students graduate at a higher rate, get bachelors and master degrees at higher rates than Ohio. Carrol High School, a Catholic school in Dayton, charges about $6500 per year per student and beats both. Home schooled students perform, on average, better than both.

    Graduation rates in the USA have increased while, by comparison to the rest of the world, Americans lag in math and science. What does that say? We pay more, get less and have inflated grades. We continue to do the same things over and over and can’t understand why we continue to slide. The public system we have is not working. Charter, private and home schooling is an attempt to provide a better education for our children. If a charter school fails, it closes. If a Catholic school fails, another is there to take its place. Pretty simple.

    Parents are trying anything and everything to avoid sending their kids to failing public schools, even moving to the ‘burbs, if they an afford it. Why can’t the money be directed to schools that can actually achieve success?

  • What was this guy’s name? I ask because, oddly enough, there will be a military-style school opening here in my county for the new school year, and it will be located in part of a vacant walmart shopping complex.

  • Yeah, that’s the “liberal” media for ya!

  • p-sla

    Charter schools can be “for profit”. Profit is where the money goes.

  • p-sla

    Charter schools can be “for profit”. Profit is where the money goes.

  • p-sla

    Charter schools can be “for profit”. Profit is where the money goes.

  • facts

    you are comparing apples to oranges.  over 50 charter schools are for dropouts, and nearly 30 are for kids with special needs – autism, aspergers, etc.  nearly all charters are in urban areas – where 50-70% of local district schools are failing (the selective urban magnet schools do well).  Strickland was cracking down on charters – even those that were wildly outperforming the schools in the area – see Cleveland and Dayton, for example.  

  • Mlombardo4

    they are paying for rent for the building.

  • facts

    charter are only allowed – by law – to be in districts rated academic watch or emergency, unless the district opens a charter.  many districts do this to house their most troubled kids.

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