Three reasons why "equal funding" on a per student basis would favor DC charter schools over DC Public Schools
The Washington Post editorializes in favor of the DC Charter Schools campaign for "equal funding" ("D.C. charters deserve the same funding as traditional public schoolsD.C. charter schools sue city, alleging unequal funding").
1. Special education. Using average data on the "equality of per student funding" between charter schools and traditional schools is misleading, because the reported figures are averages.
The reality is that roughly one-third of the funding for traditional urban school districts is spent on special education, and special education students tend to comprise about one-sixth of the student body.
Charter schools do not have the same levels of special education enrollment.
2. Student funding is set on enrollment data from the fall term. Students frequently leave charter schools after this point for placements in traditional public schools, but the funding doesn't follow the student, it is retained by the charter school. There is limited reciprocal movement of students from the DCPS system to charter schools to counter the financial disparities.
3. Because charter schools are newer, the average legacy cost per staff member for health care, pensions, and other personnel related costs are significantly lower than for the traditional public schools. These costs should be "backed out" of numbers used to calculate costs.