MAY 20, 2015

State budgetary changes in 2016 to impact small charter school funding

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PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Education recently released information related to changes in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget that will impact funding for certain charter schools and charter school networks.

The issue stems from language designed to adjust what is known as the Small School Weight (SSW), which is a weight in the charter school funding formula that increases funding for eligible small schools.

The impact of the changes was initially estimated at $6.5 million, but will actually be closer to $15 million based on the technical language in the underlying law. The SSW cuts will have the following impact:

% Decrease       Fiscal Year      Estimated Fiscal Impact
    33%                2016                ($14,619,005)
    67%                2017                ($23,631,088)
   100%               2018                 ($32,643,171)

Schools that previously received the SSW may no longer be eligible or their weight may be phased out over a three-year period based on several factors, including school size and organizational structure.

The Department remains committed to working with legislative and charter school leaders to develop solutions that can mitigate the impact of the SSW cuts.