Report: Here’s How Much Philly Schools Pay When Kids Leave for Charters

It's less than the rate that the school district has claimed for years – but still worth some attention.

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The Philadelphia School District pays almost $5,000 in continuing costs when a student leaves to attend a charter school, according to a new report referenced in the Inquirer

The report, which was compiled by Washington-based Afton Partners, has been in the works since February of 2015, when the School Reform Commission signed a $157,500 contract with the group, which specializes in studies regarding the nation’s public schools.

Afton reportedly found that the district pays $4,824 in continuing costs when a student leaves for a charter school. The Inquirer reports that if the study is correct, the district’s annual stranded costs could reach $56 million by 2023 – since 11,600 additional charter seats are expected over the next eight years. The findings reportedly analyzed costs incurred through staffing, utilities, benefits, pensions, and building maintenance and used data from the fiscal year that ended on June 30th, 2014.

The number calculated by Afton is less than what the district had projected in the past – about $7,000 per student, according to a 2012 study by Boston Consulting Group. But the Notebook reports that the study doesn’t consider the district’s debt service payments, which, if included, would bring the average per-pupil cost to about $6,898.

The district’s chief financial officer, Uri Monson, told the Inquirer that regardless, the report confirms the importance of considering costs that stem from opening and expanding charter schools.

A bill in the state House of Representatives would force Philadelphia to expand its charter schools by opening at least 3,000 charter seats a year. The district currently has nearly 65,000 students at 86 charters.

To read more about the Afton report, visit the Inquirer or the Notebook.

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