Chatham County students choose charter schools, taking $4.3 million with them

By Bea Wunston

Pittsboro, NC – Public Charter School Students who reside in Chatham County transfer significant funding out of zoned public schools.

Woods Charter School

Chatham County Schools public school district budgets 10.4% of local expenditures, totaling $4.3 million, for Charter Schools. The district makes payments to over 25 charter schools, with the most funds going to Woods Charter, Chatham Charter, and Willow Oak Montessori.*

Chatham Charter School

“State and local tax dollars are the primary funding sources for charter schools, which have open enrollment and cannot discriminate in admissions, associate with any religion or religious group, or charge-tuition.” – NC Department of Public Instruction

Willow Oak Montessori Charter School

“If a student attends a charter school, the local school administrative unit in which the child resides shall transfer to the charter school an amount equal to the per pupil share of the local current expense fund of the local school administrative unit for the fiscal year.” – § 115C-218.105. (c) State and local funds for a charter school.

“Charter School Expense”

Charter school expense constitutes the 3rd largest segment of budget for 2022-2023, following only district employee compensation.

View entire April 2022 CCS budget proposal presentation.

*Mr. Tony Messer, Board of Education Meeting April 11, 2022.

Charter School expense expected to be relatively flat compared to previous year

The 2020-2022 Local expense budget presentation shows Charter school expense proposed budget was lower last year by $100,000 ($4.2M) but remained flat as a percentage of the total local expense budget at 10.4%.

Questions to consider:

  • What is the Chatham County School system doing to attract and keep students?
  • Why are families consistently choosing public charter schools over zoned Chatham County schools?