Fundraising at D.C. charter schools varies widely

August 11, 2013

Many traditional D.C. public schools supplement their budgets with private fundraising, often giving those in affluent neighborhoods a financial edge over their counterparts in poorer areas.

D.C. charter schools also vary widely in their ability to tap into philanthropic donations, according to data the D.C. Public Charter School Board recently released, with the best fundraisers boosting their budgets by thousands of dollars per student each year.

Altogether, charters across the city raised an average of $24 million annually between 2010 and 2012 — about $932 per student each year for the three-year period.

But some did far better. Howard University Public Charter Middle School of Mathematics and Sciences reported an average annual philanthropic revenue of $1.9 million — or $6,588 per student per year. That figure, the highest in the city, includes facilities, computers and other in-kind donations from the university.

KIPP DC raised the most overall: An average of $7.2 million a year, or $3,621 per student.

The private donations come on top of D.C. government funding — a base amount this school year of $9,306 per student, with more for certain students, including those with disabilities and students learning English as a second language.

Top charter-school fundraisers, ranked by average annual philanthropic revenue per pupil between 2010 and 2012:

1. Howard University Public Charter Middle School of Mathematics and Sciences, $6,588 per student

2. KIPP DC, $3,621 per student

3. Shining Stars Montessori Academy Public Charter School, $3,002 per student*

4. E.L. Haynes Public Charter School, $2,707 per student

5. Hospitality High School, $2,454 per student

Bottom charter school fundraisers, also ranked by average annual philanthropic revenue per pupil between 2010 and 2012:

1. Options Public Charter School, no philanthropic revenue reported

2. Community Academy Public Charter School and Imagine Southeast Public Charter School, both $10 per student

3. Roots Public Charter School, $11 per student

4. AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School, $19 per student

5. Howard Road Academy Public Charter School, $38 per student

*Shining Stars opened in 2011, so its per-pupil figure reflects only a single year’s revenue.

Emma Brown writes about D.C. education and about people with a stake in schools, including teachers, parents and kids.
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