In The News

Key Findings in Analysis of School Funding Formula

The Rhode Island League of Charter Schools released a comprehensive analysis of the state’s education funding formula today. The analysis found disparities in funding across districts, including:

Student Population by Need

“Over sixty percent of students attending charter schools live in economically disadvantaged households and more than 20 percent are multilingual learners, both of which we know require more supports and financial resources, yet the state’s funding formula is short changing schools,” said Chiara Deltito-Sharrott, Executive Director of the Rhode Island League of Charter Schools. “This is an equity issue for all school districts, regardless of the type of school, that needs to be remedied if we hope to improve the education of students across the state.”

Based upon its research, the League recommends, that policy makers implement:

Per Pupil Expenditures

The League also recommends consideration of the following:

The report also includes information on the history of the funding formula and charter schools, explanation of the components of the formula, and perspectives from charter leaders. Charter schools are serving 12,871 students in the 2023-24 school year, 76% of which reside in historically underserved communities (Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls).

“A predictable, equitable funding formula is critical to providing a high-quality education for all students,” said Christopher Haskins, Chair of the Board of the League and Head of School at the Paul Cuffee School. “As it currently stands, predicting state support can be difficult, especially when changes are made by the legislature after current year school budgets are already finalized. On top of this, funding for the fastest growing population, multi-lingual learners, is inconsistent and the process for calculating free and reduced-price lunch are missing students and short-changing schools.”

The League of Charter Schools commissioned an independent analysis of Rhode Island’s education funding formula by the School and State Finance Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy organization that works collaboratively with policymakers, communities, and other key stakeholders to develop data-driven solutions that ensure all public-school students receive equitable education funding. They have extensive experience working with organizations throughout New England.

The Rhode Island League of Charter Schools represents 20 charter public schools that serve over 6,400 students from 34 school districts. Charter schools are public, free and open to all, funded by the public and held accountable to the public. They enroll students through a fair and transparent lottery system, which is open to all students, including many from low income, diverse communities.

For the full report, please click here.