Local Funds: Fair Share
Charter schools are required by law to receive a per pupil share of the local current expense fund for the school year. However, in the past, local school districts have shorted charter schools their fair share. This pattern is documented in previous court cases. For example, it was found local school districts across North Carolina withheld “fines and forfeiture” funds during the early days of the Charter School Act. A court case was required for charter schools to gain access to those funds. In Francis Delaney New Sch. Of Children, Inc. v. Ashville City Bd. of Educ., 150 N.C. App. 338 (2002), disc. Review denied 356 N.C. 670 (2003) the North Carolina Court of Appeals ordered local school districts to provide charter schools with a per pupil share of the “fines and forfeiture” funds as was required by law.
Later, local North Carolina school districts withheld additional funds from the Constitutionally required local current expense fund from charter schools. In the Sugar Creek v. Charlotte Mecklenburg, 188 N.C. App. 454(N.C. Ct. App. 2008) the Court of Appeals once again ordered local school districts to provide charter schools a per pupil share of the local current
expense fund. There have been multiple other challenges to local school districts distribution of local current expense funds. The legislature allowed local school districts to place certain
reimbursement funds in a separate “Fund 8” and designate such funds as “Other Local Current Expense Funds” which are not required to be shared with charter schools. It has been estimated that charter schools and their students have been deprived of tens of millions of dollars in local current expense funds over the years.
To remedy the constant dispute between local school districts and charter schools over
the local school district’s persistent illegal withholding of funds, the legislature provided charter schools a way to regularly review the distribution of local funds from the local school district to charter schools. Very few, if any, charter schools regularly review the funding distribution to determine if they are being provided a correct per pupil share of the local current expense funds.
Most charter schools lack the inhouse expertise required to independently review and
verify they are receiving their fair share of local current expense funds. Most charter schools rely on the good faith of the local school district to provide the charter school a fair share of funds. Periodic review of local funds is a fiduciary duty charter school boards and administrators have to ensure the charter school is receiving all the funds they are legally entitled to receive to educate students. WECHARTER can help your school ensure it is properly identifying all the required local current expense funds which it is entitled to receive.