Arizona Charter Schools Want More State Aid

December 02, 2013

Arizona’s charter schools want the same amount of state aid as the state’s other public schools. Under state law, charters are public schools, but they can be operated by private, for-profit organizations and are exempt from many of the rules governing traditional schools.

Attorney Kory Langhofer said it is unfair that charter schools cannot ask voters to approve bond issues and budget overrides to raise local tax money.      

“If you live in District 1 and you send your children to a charter school, when District 1 passes a school bond, the money you pay in taxes for that school bond don't benefit your child at all,” Langhofer said. “They only go to the district schools.”                

Langhofer said that violates the equal rights of charter school parents and children. The Department of Education and the Arizona School Boards Association said every child has an equal right to a state-funded education. They argue parents who choose to send their kids to a charter school should not be able to argue they are unhappy with the way the school is funded. 

Langhofer lost the first round in trial court but is hoping to win on appeal. The implications for the state are huge. Langhofer estimates the difference in funding at $135 million a year.