Arizona AG: Charter School Budget May Be Different Than Original Estimate
Charter schools may lose less state money next year than the Arizona Department of Education originally estimated. That’s according to an opinion the Arizona Attorney General released Wednesday clarifying the budget's impact on qualifying charter schools.
Lawmakers altered the Small School Weight, a funding formula that gives small charter schools more state funds if they have less than 600 students in one network of affiliated schools.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s opinion explains the Arizona Department of Education had treated each charter school even if in the same network as its own district. The budget bill changed the way schools counted enrollment for eligibility in the Small School Weight funding formula.
Going forward, affiliated charter schools with an aggregate student population greater than 600 will no longer be eligible for the funding formula. The bill phases out the Small School Weight over the next two years.
The Department of Education originally determined that change would mean close to $15 million in cuts to these charter schools next year. However, Brnovich’s opinion sided with the legislature’s analysis of the budget reduction, which estimated a $6.5 million cut next school year.
The Arizona Department of Education is working to revise their charter school funding calculations taking into account the opinions conclusions.