Comparing Traditional School and Open-Enrollment Charter School Expenditures

Back in May we dug into the brand-new school-level spending data in two blog posts. In our first post we showed that Arkansas’ schools spend most of their money on people (76%) and instruction (56%). We also showed that schools with higher poverty levels, as measured by Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL) percentage, tend to spend more.

Our second post broke the spending data out by school level (i.e., elementary, middle, high). We found that Arkansas spends far more per pupil on high school than it does on elementary and middle school (i.e., >$1,000 more per pupil). Somewhat surprising to us, we also found that Arkansas spends the least on middle schools.

In this post, we compare school-level spending between traditional schools and open-enrollment charter schools. For the remainder of the post, we will refer to open-enrollment charter schools simply as charters or charter schools. Arkansas also has district conversion charter schools, which are traditional schools that have been provided with additional flexibility, but they are funded in the same way as traditional schools. Conversion charter schools are treated as traditional schools for our analysis.

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Why are ACT Aspire scores flat?

We have been wondering why Arkansas' most recent ACT Aspire scores are essentially the same as they have been for the past two years.   As seen in Figure 1, the preliminary scores from the spring 2019 ACT Aspire show that statewide, student performance is flat, with...

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English Language Learners in Arkansas

English language learners (ELs) are a growing student population throughout Arkansas.  With the passage of ESSA, the progress of EL students towards proficiency in English has been added to the metrics by which schools and districts are held accountable. With this...

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Arkansas School Spending by Level

Two weeks ago we provided a first look at Arkansas’ brand new school-level spending data. Today we dig a little deeper to look at how spending varies by school level. We show that there is significant variation in spending based on the grades schools serve, and we...

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