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Charter schools group sues Oklahoma over state funding inequity

The Oklahoma Public Charter School Association contends that charters receive less aid per-student than traditional public schools.

An Oklahoma charter school group is suing the state school board over inequities in how charters receive funding compared with traditional public schools.

The Oklahoman reports that the Oklahoma Public Charter School Association's lawsuit wants funding of all public schools—charter and traditional—to be equalized to assure students receive equal education opportunities.

Traditional public schools receive funds through a variety of local, state and federal sources. The state allocates money to schools through a formula that considers student demographics, such as poverty, language barriers and special needs.

Charter schools receive funds primarily through state aid, and the charter association contends its member school are receiving hundreds of dollars less per student funding than traditional public schools.

“Right now we have a system where one public school student is valued less than another,” says Barry Schmelzenbach, president of the charter association and superintendent of Harding Fine Arts Academy charter school. 

Virtual and "brick-and-mortar" charter schools serve more than 20,000 students in Oklahoma. Enrollment is expected to grow as more charter schools are slated to open or expand.

 

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