Report Shows Inequities in Facilities Support for Rhode Island Charter Public Schools

In conjunction with the Colorado League of Charter Schools and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools has released a new report, An Analysis of the Charter School Facility Landscape in Rhode Island, detailing the status of charter public school facilities in Rhode Island.

During the winter of 2013, our organizations worked to collect information that would accurately portray both the adequacy of charter school facilities and the average amount of operating funds spent by charter schools on facilities.  The results in the report provide evidence that charter public school students in Rhode Island do not have access to the same sized facilities, facility amenities and/or funding compared to traditional public school students.

“The report confirms what our League been saying for years – Rhode Island’s charter public schools have been treated unfairly in regards to facilities support,” explains Steve Nardelli, executive director of the R.I. League of Charter Schools. “Not only does this impact our schools fiscally, but it affects how our schools can operate best to support students.”

The report is based on survey, enrollment and operating revenue data collected for the 2013-2013 school year. The data was collected from 16 charter public schools (some with multiple facilities, totaling 20 facilities studied) across Rhode Island.

Examples of key findings from the report include:

  • The current process of State Housing Aid Reimbursement is not effective for Rhode Island’s charter public schools.
  • Rhode Island charter school facilities are considerably smaller than the public school facilities standards used for the study.
  • 67-percent of the charter public school facilities lack federally-approved kitchens, challenging the schools to find ways to provide free and reduced-cost meals to the many students who qualify.
  • Shared space situations present incredible challenges, for example, issues with program implementation and adequate access to specialized learning spaces such as gymnasiums.

In Rhode Island, traditional public schools are reimbursed for facilities funds at a rate between 35-percent and 90-percent, while charter public schools are reimbursed at a rate of 30-percent.

Since 2004, the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools has been advocating for new legislation to provide housing aid equity for the state’s charter public schools.

To access the report, An Analysis of the Charter School Facility Landscape in Rhode Island, click here.