Missouri Charter School Funding
Charter schools operate in 44 states and the District of Columbia, yet no two states look alike in the laws that authorize them. In Missouri, funding for charter schools has been one of several points of contention since charter schools first began operating 20 years ago. Missouri charter schools operate only in Kansas City and St. Louis. Both charter schools and traditional school districts are public schools. Charter schools in St. Louis and Kansas City receive funding using the same funding formula used in the local districts (SLPS and KCPS). However, what is considered “local revenue” and the method by which it is distributed under state law are persistent sources of conflict. In addition, options for facilities funding are very different for traditional school districts and charter schools. Many states have direct funding or funding that is accessible to support charter school facilities, but this funding is not available in Missouri. With approximately 7 percent (more than 60,000) of Missouri’s public school students educated in Kansas City and St. Louis, the funding of charter schools merits serious policy consideration.