Fiscal impacts of charter schools: Lessons from New York

Robert Bifulco, Randall Reback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This brief argues that charter school programs can have direct fiscal impacts on school districts for two reasons. First, operating two systems of public schools under separate governance arrangements can create excess costs. Second, charter school financing policies can distribute resources to or away from districts. Using the city school districts of Albany and Buffalo in New York, we demonstrate how fiscal impacts on local school districts can be estimated. We find that charter schools have had fiscal impacts on these two school districts. Finally, we argue that charter schools policies should seek to minimize any avoidable excess costs created by charter schools and ensure that the burden of any unavoidable excess costs is equitably distributed across traditional public schools, charter schools, and the state. We offer concrete policy recommendations that may help to achieve these objectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-107
Number of pages22
JournalEducation Finance and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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