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Study Contends KIPP Charters Have Funding Advantage

A study by researchers at Western Michigan University has concluded that the KIPP network of charter schools receives significantly more public and private funding than comparable public schools.

KIPP, which stands for Knowledge Is Power Program, serves about 27,000 students in 99 schools around the nation, has been lauded for improving academic achievement of low-income students. The study found that in 2007-08, KIPP received $12,731 per student in public funds, compared with an average of $11,937 for all public schools, and $9,579 for the average charter school. In addition, the study says, KIPP received an average of $5,760 per student in private funds.

"The funding KIPP receives from public schools—more than $6,500 more per pupil in addition to what local school districts receive—is not likely to be sustainable in the longer run," the study maintains.

KIPP rejects the study and argues that it uses faulty data.

The study "claims that KIPP has a $6,500 advantage per student over neighboring district schools in fiscal year 2008—due in large part to their asserting that KIPP receives $5,760 in additional private funding per pupil," a KIPP statement says. "The report uses a selective sample of our schools, misunderstands how KIPP schools use private funding, and contains incorrect data points."

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