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How is the charter school special education tuition rate calculated?

How is the charter school special education tuition rate calculated? 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 (2.11 times) or, on average, $11,975 per student greater than the regular education tuition rate.
 



The median percent increase in the special education charter tuition rate is 4.9% annually, with the median special education education charter tuition rate growing per student from $17,962 in 2010-11 to $23,179 in 2017-18.

Click on the image link below to view our interactive Infogram illustrating the annual median charter school special education tuition rate.
 
 
Click on the image link below to view our interactive map illustrating for each school district the 2017-18 charter school special education tuition rate and the average annual % change in the tuition rate over time (the median is 4.88%).