Official Statement | May 3, 2012
Dr. Bruce D. Baker’s new report for the NEPC, which received funding from foundations established by the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, compares per pupil expenditures at charter schools in Ohio, Texas, and New York City with district schools of similar size. The NEPC report incorrectly asserts that two KIPP established regions – KIPP Houston and KIPP New York – spend $2,000 and $4,000 more per student respectively, than similarly-sized district schools.
This false claim is manufactured by (a) failing to include sizable district school expenditures in the comparison with KIPP schools, and (b) attributing to KIPP schools various expenses that the study does not likewise allocate to district schools. If the researchers accounted for these differences and created a true ‘apples to apples’ comparison, the spending gap between KIPP and district schools would be virtually eliminated.
For all KIPP schools and regions in Dr. Baker’s study:
Below is an explanation of the spending inaccuracies in each KIPP region highlighted in the report.
KIPP New York City – The report compares four KIPP charter schools to mature New York City district schools. All four KIPP schools were in growth mode at the time of the study and did not yet offer all grades, which inflates their per pupil costs relative to fully mature district schools.
The report contends that KIPP Academy New York spends $7,000 more per student than a similar-size district school by lumping in substantial non-school-specific costs – such as central administrative staff and the KIPP Through College support program for KIPP graduates – that were not likewise included in the calculation of district school, site-specific per pupil expenses.
In addition, it appears the NEPC researchers substantially under-reported district school per-pupil costs by not counting pension contribution costs, which the NYC Independent Budget Office estimated at $2,200 per student in FY 2009, or more than $2 billion annually in total pension contributions for NYC district schools. In contrast, pension expenses were included in the KIPP school costs reported in the study.
When these inaccuracies and inconsistencies are properly accounted for, the spending gap between KIPP and New York City Schools is virtually eliminated.
KIPP Houston – The majority of KIPP schools included in the report were not fully mature schools, which inflates per pupil costs relative to district schools with full enrollment. The researchers also included costs that they did not attribute to districts, such as interest on debt service, depreciation, central administrative expenses, and KIPP Through College – a student support program for KIPP graduates.
In addition, expenses for KIPP Coastal Village in Galveston are included in the KIPP costs, even though these students are not counted as enrolled students, driving up per pupil costs. It is unclear if the study adjusted for this nuance. Correcting for these discrepancies would virtually eliminate the KIPP Houston expenditure gap with the district.
For more information, contact Steve Mancini at email@example.com or (415) 531-5396.
Click below for the full official statement:
KIPP statement: NEPC Report by Bruce D. Baker on “Spending by the Major Charter Management Organizations”