As we talked about yesterday, a school district pays tuition to a charter school for each resident student enrolled. The tuition rate is calculated annually based on school district expenditures and is the same regardless of whether the student attends a brick and mortar charter school or a cyber charter school.
Yesterday, we covered the calculation of the regular education charter school tuition rate. If a student attending a charter school requires special education services and has an IEP, the school district pays a different—higher—tuition for that student.
Like the regular education tuition rate, the special education tuition rate is defined by the charter school law. Generally, the special education tuition calculation adds a supplement onto the district’s regular education tuition rate (click here for a recap of how the regular education charter school tuition rate is calculated).
To calculate the special education charter school tuition rate, the school district starts with their total budgeted special education expenditures for the prior year—this is the amount that was deducted from the regular education tuition calculation. Those school district special education expenditures are then divided by 16% of the school district’s ADMs. Sixteen percent is used in this calculation because it used to represent the average percentage (median) of special education students to regular education students in a school district. However, the actual percentage of students for 2016-17 was 19.3%.
The resulting amount is then added to the regular education charter school tuition rate. This sum becomes the special education tuition rate. The special education tuition rate is generally about 211% higher or, on average, $11,975 per student greater than the regular education tuition rate.