Education finance data can be complex and questions often arise as to the best way of presenting them. A question that frequently arises is how to summarize average per pupil revenue. One approach is to average per pupil revenue at the school level and then average within states and the country which gives an unweighted average. This allows one to assess what the average school experiences as far as available funding per pupil. Another approach is to weight each school’s average per pupil revenue by the number of students they enroll as a proportion of all students. This approach allows one to assess the average revenue available across all schools to educate a student. Both approaches are important, but since our focus is at the school level we discuss the summary of the unweighted data. However, we also include the corresponding tables of the weighted data for reference.

Charter schools receive fewer dollars per pupil than district schools. Though there are year-to-year fluctuations, the average charter school receives 74 cents for every dollar the average district schools receives. In the most recent year of available data, the average charter school receives approximately $4,400 less per student. Per pupil funding in charter schools is less than per pupil funding in 22 out of the 27 states for which we have data. Over the period from 2006-07 through 2016-17, charter school funding increased by $225 per pupil while per pupil funding in district schools increased by $1,139. On average, charter schools receive proportionally more funding from the state (60.0%) than district schools (45.5%).

Table 4.1: Per Pupil Revenue by Sector and Year

Year Charter - Revenue Per Pupil Charter - State Charter - Local District - Revenue Per Pupil District - State District - Local
2007 $11,684 67.2% 20.6% $15,206 46.5% 45.8%
2008 $11,832 67.6% 21.4% $15,396 47.4% 45.2%
2009 $12,508 64.2% 23.9% $15,871 45.9% 45.6%
2010 $12,959 59.6% 23.1% $15,645 43.0% 45.7%
2011 $12,042 63.4% 20.8% $16,698 44.2% 45.4%
2012 $11,924 60.7% 26.7% $15,981 44.0% 47.4%
2013 $11,677 62.3% 26.5% $16,625 43.4% 48.6%
2014 $11,587 63.1% 26.4% $16,550 44.6% 48.2%
2015 $11,706 62.4% 26.7% $16,527 44.3% 48.8%
2016 $11,904 63.4% 26.3% $16,231 45.2% 47.9%
2017 $11,909 60.0% 30.1% $16,345 45.5% 47.7%

Note: Data from Authors’ calculations using the NCES National Public Education Financial Survey 2006-07 through 2016-17. See here for details. Data adjusted for inflation using 2017 constant dollars.

  • These are select data from charter schools that operate as their own LEA—which accounts for approximately 60 percent of all charter schools—and school districts that have no charter schools within them.
  • On average, charter schools receive $4,000 less per pupil in revenue from all sources and less than $4,400 in the most recent year of data.
  • Charter schools receive a greater proportion of their revenue from state sources than do district schools.

Table 4.2: Per Pupil Revenue by Sector and State

State Charter - Revenue Per Pupil Charter - State Charter - Local District - Revenue Per Pupil District - State District - Local
AR $9,860 75.8% 14.2% $11,180 52.4% 35.9%
AZ $9,411 78.7% 8.9% $14,040 35.6% 48.8%
CT $14,363 74.7% 17.5% $23,557 31.5% 65.9%
DC $26,778 0.0% 93.5% $31,382 0.0% 89.0%
DE $13,000 56.2% 36.7% $18,251 61.6% 32.0%
GA $10,406 78.8% 14.2% $11,831 50.2% 37.8%
ID $7,978 83.4% 8.7% $11,426 67.8% 21.5%
IN $9,976 77.2% 10.8% $12,738 63.2% 30.5%
LA $12,672 41.0% 44.7% $14,204 52.1% 35.7%
MA $19,527 8.4% 86.0% $20,770 33.1% 63.7%
ME $12,679 83.3% 12.7% $17,680 29.3% 64.7%
MI $10,028 82.5% 6.5% $13,057 53.1% 40.5%
MN $15,280 86.7% 5.3% $14,486 67.9% 26.9%
MO $14,423 67.3% 20.5% $12,261 38.5% 52.1%
MS $12,779 40.2% 39.0% $10,146 51.7% 32.3%
NC $9,528 60.5% 34.1% $10,320 64.3% 23.4%
NJ $16,040 8.9% 83.2% $23,593 30.6% 66.0%
NM $11,592 83.6% 9.0% $17,658 70.2% 18.8%
NV $7,569 95.6% 1.6% $17,494 40.2% 53.5%
OH $11,387 80.7% 5.1% $14,087 43.3% 50.5%
OK $7,888 70.7% 17.3% $10,293 47.0% 40.4%
PA $14,927 1.2% 89.6% $18,517 43.4% 52.5%
RI $22,740 55.6% 35.6% $20,013 30.0% 64.7%
SC $18,050 89.7% 5.9% $13,156 52.3% 35.0%
TX $10,213 84.7% 5.3% $14,247 39.2% 53.0%
UT $7,768 84.4% 9.2% $11,122 48.6% 43.3%
WA $14,462 59.0% 32.2% $16,627 68.3% 23.9%

Note: Data from Authors’ calculations using the 2016-17 NCES National Public Education Financial Survey. See here for details.

  • In 22 of 27 states for which we have financial data, charter schools receive fewer dollars per pupil than district schools.
  • In many states, charter schools receive proportionally far fewer dollars from local sources than district schools.